Courier Life’s

Assemblyman didn’t protest waste transfer station when he had power to stop it

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You could call it dirty politics.

Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bath Beach) has made a signature issue of fighting a proposed garbage transfer station at the end of Bay 41st Street — but this paper has learned that in fact, the prominent opponent was for the project before he was against it.

Mayor Bloomberg announced in 2002 that he wanted to have marine depots compact and package household trash for shipment to landfills, instead of using incinerators like the one that formerly operated at the proposed transfer station site on Gravesend Bay. News outlets reported that Colton — then chairman of the Assembly’s Commission on Solid Waste — reacted positively to the plan, only asking that hizzoner also work to increase recycling.

When the city announced its plans in 2003 to knock down the old incinerator facility — which had been out of commission since 1991 — to make way for the trash terminal, Colton applauded the destruction of an eyesore. The assemblyman also praised the plan to move compacted refuse via boat, which would relieve garbage truck traffic.

“The fact that the site will be used to ship trash out by barge rather than by truck is also good news,” Colton told the Daily News.

This paper could find no evidence that Colton protested the planned waste transfer station during the next three years, even though state literature lists “oversight of the NYC Solid Waste Management Plan” as one of his responsibilities as chairman of the Solid Waste Commission.

It was not until 2006, after both Community Board 11 and the Council voted to approve the garbage depot that Colton came out against the facility, claiming that its construction would dredge up poisonous residues from the incinerator.

Colton launched a lawsuit against the station in 2012. The petition repeated his claims about the danger of stirring toxins in the water, and added concerns about truck traffic going to the facility. It even raised the possibility that the dredging could touch off unexploded shells dumped in the bay when a munitions ship capsized there in 1954.

But Colton failed to voice these objections during the critical planning stages in the early 2000s.

A State Supreme Court judge struck down the suit in May. Colton has since vowed to appeal.

Colton did not return repeated calls for comment.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him
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Reader Feedback

John Quaglione from Bay Ridge says:
Now it makes perfect sense why Bill Colton was so upset when I called out Councilman Gentile for flip flopping on the issue - he must have realized that in essence he did the same thing and it was only a matter of time before that would be revealed.

Councilman Gentile voted to support this Waste Transfer Station and now is opposed to it. Colton and Gentile are basically the same and their credibility on the issue has been damaged.
Sept. 11, 2013, 3:54 pm
Keep our bay clean! from Bath Beach says:
John is right! Gentile and Colton are both flip-floppers, we need honest representation on this issue if we have any hope of keeping our neighborhood dump free. Why did these guys ever think it was a good idea to put a garbage station our neighborhood?!
Sept. 11, 2013, 5:38 pm
Stunned from Bensonhurst says:
What a disappointment all this time Assemblyman Colton's been "fighting" on this issue, when really he was just trying to cover-up his own involvement. It's as bad as Gentile voting for it. These guys have been in too long and are no good for our neighborhood anymore.
Sept. 12, 2013, 8:54 am
Nussbaum from winning team says:
I may not be involved in politics a long time but how exactly does a state lawmaker have the power to tell the city's mayor where to throw the city's trash? John Q you should take a course on government before you consider running it. Why didn't the mayor's close buddy Marty Golden put pressure on the Mayor during his 3 terms to stop this plan? What has Golden done to stop this plan? Did Marty consider this when he endorsed Bloomberg for a 3rd term despite the voters voting twice to limit him to 2? Marty has a lot of explaining to do, especially to his eroding base that could not win local party elections. I won't wave to Marty at parades anymore.
Sept. 12, 2013, 2:03 pm
Peter from Bath Beach says:
Mr. Nussbaum, I think in your haste to attack Sen. Golden you didn't properly read this article. Usually state lawmakers don't have a say on city matters, however Assemblyman Colton held a unique position which gave him oversight authority and a voice in city sanitation policy from 1996-2010.
Sept. 12, 2013, 6:52 pm
QueenoftheClick from Bay Ridge says:
Colton has been on top of this since 2001. The original plans presented upset people so they were changed. Ironically they are not online. Most city plans are online, but when there is a problem with zoning or waste management the plans disappear. Colton has been on this issue since 2001 (search for Fresh Kills in this pdf:

People who are in politics shouldn't be finger pointers because eventually the finger points at you.
Sept. 12, 2013, 8:25 pm
Karen from Gravesend says:
Is Queen of the Click's comment about clarification or putting out an anonymous threat?

Not sure how facts reported by the Courier Life translates into finger pointing. It seems pretty clear - Assemblyman Colton knew about this plan for a long time, had a position of authority (both of which are confirmed by the link provided by Queen of the Click, as the closing of Fresh Kills was one of the first steps in getting us to where we are now) and said nothing in opposition until after it was too late.

The only people in politics who have something to be worry about are those who are scared of the truth.
Sept. 13, 2013, 9:21 am
Queen of the Click from Bay Ridge says:

Yeah okay Karen.

Guiliani closed Fresh Kills - -please learn about the history of this project before adding more nonsense to the web.
Sept. 13, 2013, 2:37 pm
Karen from Gravesend says:
Queen of the Click, I guess when intimidation doesn't work, condensation is the next best thing?

I think you should read the link you posted. It clearly says, "In 1996, the State required closure of the nation’s largest landfill by the end of 2001. Since that time, the City has been developing short and long-term plans to divert waste from the landfill."

The report goes on to say that the long term plans were revised, and "The revised plan relies heavily on the retrofitting of several existing marine transfer stations and a marine-to-rail facility in New Jersey. Since many components of this plan are still under environmental review, the outcome is uncertain and implementation of the revised plan is clearly a number of years away"

Well, implementation of the revised plan which at that time in 2001 was years away, is the now the pending construction of the Waste Transfer Station in the Assemblyman's own district.

I think the timeline and connection is pretty clear in the link you provided.
Sept. 13, 2013, 3:39 pm
Karen from Gravesend says:
Sorry - Condensation = Condescension.
Sept. 13, 2013, 3:43 pm
Queen of the Click from Bay Ridge says:


It's funny that you are using the name Karen now. You gave yourself away in what you wrote the first time.
Sept. 13, 2013, 4:04 pm
Karen from Gravesend says:
I think the joke is on you.

But, at this point, it is not too surprising you would again divert conversation away from what's actually reported on in the article.
Sept. 13, 2013, 7:08 pm
Mark Treyger from Bergen Beach says:
Now that I know the truth about my boss I can dismantle my fake organization STRONG = Sandy Task-force Recovery Organized by Neighborhood Groups.

We will return to cleaning the streets. Wait I am about to become a City Council person. I will no longer clean the streets, I will call my local Sanitation Department Supervisor to make sure they clean our streets.

Wait I need the fake photo ops ok we will come up with something new maybe protest BJ's for killing the small moms and pops shops in our neighborhoods. Wait but its being built already and we didn't protest, well we can always flip on that. POLITICS how weird.
Oct. 3, 2013, 1:54 pm
The Truth from Everywhere says:
Everyone knows that Bill Colton has been fighting against this garbage station and never supported it. Will Bredderman & Courier Life aren't reporting facts here. They are simply acting as a tabloid newspaper which spreads distorted lies about people.

Colton is continuing his fight against the garbage station and he will be successful. He closed the incinerator and he will also stop this garbage station.

As for those of you who want to comment on here, using fake names (and some of you have used real names), where have you been all these years Colton & the community has been fighting against this garbage station? Did any of you attend a rally, sign a petition, or help the community's efforts in any way?

Oh wait, you probably haven't. Instead of doing real work, you sit behind a computer all day long, spread gossip, and pretend to be other people (who you likely envy and wish to be... yeah, I'm talking to you "Mark Treyger from Bergen Beach").

Colton & Gentile are not "basically the same." They're not identical twins. Come on, John. You should be more intelligent than that. That is neither a sound nor valid argument.

And no, Colton's credibility on this issue has not be damaged. Because he has been the ONLY elected official in southwest Brooklyn who has consistently fought against this garbage station for the past decade. Until others are able to create a similar track record, no one can say that they've been leading this issue. But that will NEVER happen. Why? Because nearly all of our other elected officials (except a few, who I won't name here), are too AFRAID of the powerful interests (cough-King Bloomberg-cough) to stand up for our community.
Oct. 13, 2013, 8:13 pm
The Screecher from Bensonhurst West End says:
I don't know about "everywhere" cause the screecher has been everywhere and there ain't anywhere as beautiful as good ol' south Brooklyn! But if they build this toxic waste dump on our waterfront, we'll all be as sick as Gravesend Bay. Assemblyman Colton let us all down and I'm mad as hell! If there's one thing a big screecher can teach ya (and I know a thing or two about teaching) its that all politicians STINK! They stink just like the waste transfer station, and its got their grubby fingerprints all over it. The Screecher will teach you your waste transfer ABC's of blame: Assemblyman Bill Colton Didn't Even Fight. Another "good one" bites the dust, and we get caught holding the bag while Colton, Gentile, and the rest keep on getting their paychecks. Let's screech 'em out like the D coming down the Stillwell Ave. turn, scraaatch....and swoosh!
Oct. 15, 2013, 11:48 am

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