Letters to the Editor, May 9

Blueway plan unnecessary and harmful

The so-called Blueway is shaping up to be a monstrosity. Could it be our Westway East? We should seriously question subsidizing and spending $770,000,000 to finance environmentally damaging work in and along the East River. Are our political leaders really proposing the phony solution to shoreline protection with man-made wetlands that will be washed away in the first half-Sandy?

Does it make sense to further subsidize Con Ed to do the work it was supposed to have done in the first place? The East River is in line to become one massive tax-supported destruction of a critical habitat with extraordinary national significance!

Evidence some of the segmented developments now proposed: the Diamond Sugar development, the Gowanus Canal plan, the Newtown Creek highrises, the Long Island City riverfront plans, the 38th Street/Big Alice replacement projects, and the continued push for the Solar 2 building.

We should see these plans for what they are: disaster capitalism. The so-called Blueway is just a piling on, put together by a planner who seems to have gotten caught short when Sandy hit and rushed out a half-thought out proposal that makes little sense.

Many of those projects would violate Clean Water Act goals and New York-specific federal court decisions designed to protect natural aquatic habitats by placing non-essential fills and/or structures in public waterways, and/or by siting non-water-dependent real estate development in near-shore waters.

We should oppose additional spending for building on, along and out into the East River not only to prevent adverse habitat and fisheries impacts, but to preserve views of open water, prevent unnecessary storm and hurricane damage, avoid the high construction and maintenance costs for anything built in and along the river, and uphold Clean Water Act requirements which discourage building non-water-dependent projects in the water.

What makes sense is for our politicians to demand a comprehensive federal review of all these projects taken together, and what effect they will have on a river habitat that is fighting back from centuries of pollution.

And, by the way, what is the social effect on a still-traumatized community not used to ten feet of water flowing up against our apartment buildings?

Andrew Lawrence, PCV

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