They’re not budging.
The State Board on Electrical Generation Siting and the Environment rejected TransGas Energy’s request for a rehearing on its denied proposal for a power plant along the waterfront on the border between Greenpoint and Williamsburg, making the development of the land into park space an increasing reality.
The proposal was originally rejected by the Siting Board due to multiple problems regarding the land use and environmental impact around the site.
“The Siting Board has once again used good judgment in denying this request. The city is moving to transform 28 acres around Bushwick Inlet into a park and recreation area. How can you compare that to an environmentally hazardous Power Plant?” said State Senator Martin Dilan. “TransGas never made a good-faith effort to do the right thing by this community.”
TransGas Energy, which has already spent upwards of $15 million on its application, has been trying to locate its power plant on the bank of the East River in Greenpoint for the past five years. After the New York State Department of Public Service rejected TransGas’s proposal earlier this year, the energy company petitioned last week for a rehearing by the Department’s Siting Board, which determines the location of power plants throughout the state, and again met opposition.
“The decision was not unexpected,” Adam Perlmutter, an attorney and community resident who has been tracking case. “TGE was moving for re-hearing of the Board’s denial of its application. The Board had good reason to deny TGE’s project. We fully expect that TGE will do everything possible to exhaust its appeals.”
In TransGas’s latest proposal, the company hoped to construct a power plant off Kent and North 12th streets, which would impede access to a 28-acre waterfront park along the inlet and interrupt a Greenway that has been planned for the Greenpoint waterfront for several years. Officials from TransGas Energy were not available for comment.
With the plan rejected, it appears that the city Parks Department’s proposed Bushwick Inlet Park, six parcels of land spanning North 9th Street and Calyer Street along Bushwick Inlet, is on its way to becoming a reality.
Community leaders uniformly praised the decision, with members of the Open Space Alliance and Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park saying they were looking forward to city officials launching development of the waterfront site.
“Once again, our state government has echoed the voice of the people, and ruled that this absurd project is wrong for the North Brooklyn waterfront,” said Evan Thies, chair of the Community Board 1’s Environmental Committee and a candidate for City Council. “TransGas now has to do the right thing and allow this beautiful property to be sold immediately so it can be used as parkland for generations of Brooklynites.”
The State Siting Board’s decision leaves TransGas Energy executives with few options for the site, as elected officials at the state and city level continue to unite behind the proposal to turn Bushwick Inlet into a waterfront park. TransGas may continue to fight the case in court, but city agencies may soon proceed to negotiate with the energy company for sale of the site or begin eminent domain proceedings if the company refuses to sell.
“We’re in a good spot because the burden is on TransGas to show that the court acted arbitrarily and capriciously in making its decision in favor for the community,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. “It’s a much harder burden to show that the Siting Board is incorrect.”
©2008 Community News Group
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