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Will council pass incinerator plan?

The City Council is scheduled to vote this week on a compromise plan that would enable the Brooklyn incinerator to be built while moving up recycling timetables and closing two small incinerators that were scheduled to be renovated. While the plan was crafted by Speaker Peter Vallone and Mayor David N. Dinkins, Brooklyn Councilmembers feel burned and it was unclear last week if the plan will go forward even as the real estate industry hailed the compromise.

Deborah Beck, executive vice president of REBNY, said the compromise couldn't have come a moment too soon. "It's a practical step and a good decision and recognizes the real world realities that the city faces right now," she said. The city has more garbage than it can dispose of and Fresh Kills will be the highest mountain on the East Coast when it closes, she added.

Heather Hatfield, vice president of the Building Congress, said, "We're very enthusiastic about the compromise." The Dept. of Sanitation has been responsive to the needs of an expanding recycling program and the pragmatic needs for taking care of the solid waste concerns of the city, she said. "We think it's a good compromise and the City Council should pass it this Wednesday."

While everyone recognizes recycling is the best route, Beck said, the building of the small recovery facilities is a good investment that must be coupled with a state-of-the-art incinerator with environmental protections for the people in the neighborhood.

The Real Estate Board is also concerned about the curbside recycling program and hopes there will be a solid education program through the schools and community organizations to ensure its success.

"We think it's terribly important that the environmental lobby work closely with the city for seed money to encourage new manufacturing and processes so that there is a market for this recycled material," Beck said, noting the real problem has been reusing the material in enough viable products.

Increasingly, Beck foresees there will be more recycled products made of plastic and glass turned into building construction materials. "That is already the case and there is a plastic lumber but all of these things are in their infancies," she said. "We need our manufacturing and technical genius to turn these recycled materials into products not only for construction but for other uses."

Under the compromise, the City will move the implementation of curbside recycling to the fall of 1993 and build Material Recovery Facilities -- known as MRFs -- in each borough to accommodate and separate the material. The land use review process will begin this fiscal year for sites.

Additionally, small, outmoded incinerators in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Maspeth, Queens will be closed by 1995 while ash will be shipped away or beneficial uses found such as for road repair.

The Environmental Protection Committee of the City Council, headed by Stanley E. Michels, was to hold public hearings early this week with a vote by the Committee and full Council scheduled for Wednesday.
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Title Annotation:New York, New York. City Council
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 26, 1992
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