One local legislator has bucked the entire New York City delegation in Albany, by opposing legislation that could help protect residential neighborhoods against the siting of potential dangerous facilities.
Republican State Senator Marty Golden was the only city legislator to vote against the bill, proposed by State Senator John Sampson and Assemblymember Nick Perry, which required operators to certify, rather than simply state, that any regulated medical waste treatment, storage or disposal facility they are planning on opening is in keeping with the zoning at the location.
This adds teeth to existing regulations, said Sampson. If an operator certifies conformity with the zoning wrongly, he said, “They could lose their permit” or face another “extreme penalty.”
In doing so, Golden not only went against the prevailing Democratic representatives from the city, but also disagreed with fellow GOPers, State Senators Frank Padavan and Andrew Lanza, who voted for the legislation.
The bill was drafted in response to efforts by CMW Industries to locate a medical waste transfer station near homes in Canarsie, at 100−02 Farragut Road. Last month, the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) validated the assertions of residents and elected officials when it ruled that the facility does not conform with the zoning in the area. As a result, even if the facility gets the okay from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the company will likely have to go for a variance in order to operate the facility.
“If you tried to put one of these in Marty Golden’s neck of the woods,” noted Sampson, “the community would be up in arms. We want to make sure they site these facilities in industrial areas where there’s not much contact with residences. Marty totally dropped the ball. He knows that if this were his district, he’d be the first one on the battle lines.”
Perry agreed. He remarked, “I was shocked that Marty Golden, known to be a an ardent protector of communities in his senate district, dissented on a bill that does what he does all the time −− fight to protect neighborhoods from undesirable facilities and operations that threaten their quality of life.”
The fear is that the transport of as much as 15 tons of regulated medical waste each day, carried in on up to 30 trucks, could endanger local residents, either because of an accident or because of a deliberate bioterrorist attack. Besides regulated medical waste, among the substances that could be collected and stored at the facility are formalin, formaldehyde, xylene, alcohol, and mercury, according to a notice issued by DEC.
Nonetheless, CMW has repeatedly contended that the operation would not be risky, because the waste would be inside sealed boxes, that would be transferred from smaller vehicles to tractor−trailers within an enclosed area.
So, why did Golden vote against the bill, which is now awaiting the governor’s signature. John Quaglione, a spokesperson for Golden, said that the senator, “Had questions about the effects this bill would have on hospitals and medical offices throughout New York State. While Senator Golden acknowledged that this bill is good intentioned, he felt the bill should have been amended and clarified before a roll call vote. As such, he chose to vote against it because he had questions at the time of the vote as to the impact on the medical field as well as our homeland security.”
©2009 Community News Group
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