By Peter Sorkin
Also at the conference were Silvercup Studios President Stuart Suna, Silvercup CEO Alan Suna, Silvercup lawyer Michael Zarin, and “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini.
Silvercup officials have said they will sue the New York Power Authority because noise from the two temporary generators may interfere with television production. The NYPA's proposed site for the turbines is directly next to the studio.
Silvercup Studios at 42-30 Vernon Blvd. is one of the largest film production companies in the city and produces television shows, including “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.”
In a letter written Tuesday to New York Power Authority Chairman C.D. Rappleyea, Schumer said the Poultry Market site on Borden Avenue is a more viable alternative because it would create millions of dollars in new economic activity near the waterfront and save jobs at Silvercup, which has threatened to move to New Jersey.
Schumer said the Poultry Market site, the former home of a livestock factory, is now being used as a parking lot and could easily be converted into a spot for the turbines.
“New York City clearly needs more power and I commend NYPA for responding to the problem by creating a plan to install mini-generators around the city,” Schumer said at the news conference on the fourth floor of Silvercup Studios.
“If we don't act quickly, we could find ourselves facing California's fate,” Schumer said. “However, creating more power should be done in as a community-friendly and environmentally sound way as possible.”
California has been subject to “rolling blackouts” – different areas cut off from service at different times – this winter as a result of that state's deregulation of the power industry.
“I am against the proposed NYPA generator site on the Long Island City waterfront,” Shulman said. “This proposal is contrary to all city waterfront development policy and will have a negative impact on future development.”
Officials from Silvercup Studios, which currently operates on three acres, have said they had intended to expand the facility to six acres along the East River. But now they are threatening to move to New Jersey if the turbines are built.
Zarin said Silvercup may file a lawsuit as early as early as next week to stop the turbines. At a rally last month in Long Island City, Silvercup representatives said the National Resources Defense Council, a national non-profit environmental group, was interested in joining the suit.
Last week, the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued air pollution control permits to NYPA, which allows it to build 10 turbines throughout the city. In a statement released Jan. 12, DEC Commissioner John Cahill said the new turbines would help meet the immediate demand for electric power in the New York metropolitan area. Cahill said the permits also require NYPA to conduct continuous emissions tests to ensure that pollution limits are not exceeded.
But Schumer was not convinced.
“I sincerely hope that NYPA will work with the city and state and commit the resources necessary to bring much-needed power to New York City while preserving the future of the Queens waterfront,” Schumer said.