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January 2014

Sustainability Program - Wed. Feb 19 at 6:30 PM - We will continue our Sustainability Series this spring with “How To Reduce Food Waste and Increase Composting.” New City Law requires food waste recycling. Presenters: Dep. Sanitation Commissioner Ron Gonen, Elizabeth Balkan of the Mayor’s Office, Professor Brett Branco, Brooklyn College,  and Vokashi composters. Our full spring series and location information is here.

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* Destroying Wetlands. The NYC Group and the Atlantic Chapter are fighting a dangerous policy – “compensatory mitigation banking” (see here) – that would allow existing, naturally-occurring Hudson and East River and other NYC coastal and wetland habitats to be destroyed by development projects that would be “paid for” by “rehabilitated” wetlands or coastal lands elsewhere. The NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is asking the U.S. Army Corps of engineers to approve the first-ever “compensatory mitigation bank” for NYC. The Atlantic Chapter sent a letter to the Corps (read here) opposing this "shell game" that would facilitate illegal, environmentally destructive in-water development in irreplaceable waterways and wetlands. You can help by writing to Mayor Bill deBlasio, City Hall, NY. NY 10007 and urge him to stop subsidizing development in the Hudson River and other waters, and to cancel EDC plans to use fraudulent "mitigation banking" schemes to make end-runs around the environmental laws that protect aquatic resources, in order to facilitate costly development in the wrong places.

NYC Picture Jan2014 1* January – a month for rallies.  January was cold, but we were out three times. First, NYC Sierrans joined a rally January 4th calling on Rep. Charles Rangel to oppose a fast track vote on the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) treaty that has been negotiated in secret and that threatens environmental, health and safety, labor, and other laws in the United States, so debate is essential. 
Then, on Jan 8, we joined a NYC Jan 2014 2rally at Cuomo’s State of the State Address in Albany. It pulled 2,000 opponents to fracking.  Buses and cars of anti-fracking protestors came from across the state, including Sierra Club members and others from New York City. The demonstrators (see picture at right) began chanting in the morning as they gathered and kept it up until about 2:00pm (see here).
Finally, on
January 26, 2014, New Yorkers turned out again in an unprecedented network of advocacy organizations, including the Sierra Club and the AFL-CIO to oppose Fast Track legislation on the TPP.  Click here to see a YouTube video of the demonstration.

* Sierra Club Water Withdrawals Task Force Monitoring State Applications for Water Use - Looking for volunteers. New York’s water supply is finite, and the demands on NY's water supply are many. It is important to monitor how many water withdrawal permits are issued by NY State and for how much water. Large water users include mining operations (including fracking), farming, industries and energy companies. The Sierra Club is monitoring the implementation of a new State Law that requires large water users to apply for water withdrawal permits from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). To find out what the Sierra Club is doing click here.  And read the Club report: How Power Plants Kill Fish and Damage Our Waterways. And to get invovled, contact Irene Van Slyke.

* Group Election Results. 662 ballots were cast – more than in any previous election in recent memory – 519 paper and 143 electronic. There were 5 winners of 9 candidates – see below. First, the Group owes great gratitude to Alan Gerson, John Kolp, Suzanne Mattei, and Don Young for their time and patience. Also, thanks to Judy Francis for her helpfulness throughout the process and to Jonathan Rubin, Manny Russ and Carl Arnold for volunteering at the painstaking count. We also thank and acknowledge our Chair, Ken Baer. Congratulations to all the nine candidates and thanks for the positive campaigns they ran.

Irene Van Slyke - 446
Frank Eadie - 419
Ken Baer - 399
Jim Lane - 372
Thelma Fellows - 315

Tom Wysmuller - 314
Julia Willebrand - 305
Edgar Freud - 285
David Veliz - 262

* January Film Showing. About 40 people joined us for the showing of More than Honey on January 15th. We planned to start with a brief interview with a beekeeper, but because she was ill, we read her written answers to an attentive audience. The audience fully enjoyed More than Honey, which had spectacular footage of bees in their hives, in flight, and pollinating flowers as well as provocative commentary on the importance of bees in agriculture and the life-and-death problems that bees are facing.

* Check out recent posts on our Blog, House Passes Bill to Gut the Superfund Law and “Mitigation Banking” — a Threat to NYC’s Remaining Wetlands.  And don’t forget to check our calendar for events of interest to environmentalists in and around New York City.

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