Cures Gets Epa Award Nod

Org. Fighting For Greener Trains

A coalition of local civic groups fighting for quality of life improvements near local freight rail lines has been nominated by Rep. Bob Turner for honors distributed by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES) was one of two organizations in Queens picked by Turner to receive the EPA’s annual Environmental Quality Award, which recognizes groups and individuals across the country who have worked to make New York more eco-friendly over the last year.

Also nominated by Turner for the EPA award was the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, which has been campaign for improvements to combat nitrogen buildups and loss of marshes across the 25,000 acre wetland.

Formed in 2009, CURES is comprised of 14 different civic associations from Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Woodhaven and Woodside.

The coalition meets on a regular basis with local elected officials and representatives of freight rail companies operating in the area in an effort to resolve regular quality-of-life problems related to railroad operations in the area such as noise and air pollution.

CURES has also sponsored a number of beautification projects in the area, including the creation of a community garden along the Long Island Rail Road’s Bay Ridge branch on Shaler Avenue near 65th Street. They are also in the process of developing a similar garden along the Montauk branch of the LIRR on EdsallAvenue near 71st Street, near the defunct Glendale station.

In nominating the group for the EPA award, Turner applauded CURES for working “to reduce emissions from diesel-based locomotives; ensure that rail yards are free of hazards and threats to neighborhood health and safety” and raising “awareness about the expanded railroad operations pushing into residential areas.”

“Coalitions such as CURES are an example of effective community involvement at its finest,” the congressman added. There is nothing more important in the political process than local residents and leaders coming together for a common cause to send a larger message.”

Mary Parisen, co-chair and cofounder of CURES, said in a statement that the organization was honored to be nominated for the award.

“For more than two decades, civic leaders from Queens Community Board 5 have been asking for safer and cleaner freight rail,” Parisen said. “We sincerely hope this nomination means the time has finally come for state-of-the-art noise and diesel emissions reduction technology. New technology will bring cleaner air, a healthier environment and better quality-of-life to communities that must live with the expansion of freight rail in New York City.”

The winners of the EPA awards will be honored at anApril ceremony at the agency’s office in Lower Manhattan.

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