Residents say the selling of the land would increase rail traffic, hurt clean air quality, and potentially cause other harmful problems.
Mary Parisen of the Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES), a collation of 14 Queens’ civic associations that formed in 2009, said she believes that railroad traffic is coming at both a financial and environmental cost to neighborhoods like Glendale and Middle Village.
“There can not be any expansion without mitigation and community benefits,” Parisen said, who stressed the importance for Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to successfully address the locomotive engines currently transporting waste, construction and demolition debris and materials.
Parisen said a big concern is the transport of garbage through Queens neighborhoods, which could cause harmful affects to residents in the area. Parisen also added that the covers on gondola, hopper and bottom drop rail cars hauling construction and demolition debris, gravel, sand or other materials are in poor condition and often become dislodged.
“The cars have a very thin netting, and white powder and smoke comes out, which is harmful to the environment and the community,” she said.
“Our communities are already overwhelmed with polluting locomotives and more rail traffic than can reasonably be handled through the Fresh Pond Terminal in Glendale, Queens,” CB5 chairman Vincent Arcuri, Jr., wrote in a letter to administrators in Suffolk County.
Assemblyman Mike Miller and State Senator Joseph Addabbo are paying for a van or bus to take participants from all interested communities to the Suffolk County Legislature meeting on Thursday, Sept. 13.
“We want to make sure our voice is heard,” Miller said. “We want to make sure that residents who want to discuss the issue have the availability to get there.”
Miller also said that if the sale was approved, “it would be passed without the consideration for how it affects others.”
The Suffolk County Legislature will decide whether to sell the public land in Yaphank to Brookhaven Rail Terminal at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Suffolk Co. Legislature meeting.
Residents are invited to attend, and can meet at Addabbo’s Middle Village office, 66-85 73rd Place, at 7:30 a.m. that day for transportation. For more information about seating, call (718) 772-3287.