Constantinides launches petition for cleaner power plants

Councilman Costa Constantinides (c) escalates his campaign for cleaner power generation as President Donald Trump signs an executive order dismantling climate policies.
Photo by Bill Parry
By Bill Parry

The demand for environmental justice for Asthma Alley in western Queens continues.

City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced the creation of an online petition that calls for cleaner power generation in the city. His district includes Astoria and Long Island City, which are home to almost half of the city’s power plants generating more than 50 percent of the city’s power.

The petition calls for a plan to end the use of dirty fuel oils, which are linked to air pollutants that pose a risk to public health, including higher rates of asthma. The petition supports his bill INT. 1465, which would accelerate the phase-out of No. 4 fuel oil, one of the dirtiest fuels available, to 2025.

“As the Trump administration has proposed massive funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, New York must lead the way on combating climate change,” Constantinides said. “Power plants have been notorious for emitting dangerous pollutants that risk our environment and public health. For decades, these plants have strongly contributed to increased respiratory illness, higher asthma rates, and other public health issues. By taking steps called for in our petition, we will go a long way to ensuring a greener and more sustainable future for our city.”

All residents and community stakeholders are encouraged to sign the petition available at www.council.nyc.gov/costa-constantinides/petition/. Constantinides was not the only city leader taking aim at President Trump’s executive order Tuesday that dismantles the Obama administration’s climate change agenda.

“President Trump’s order to begin rolling back the progress we have made on climate change represents an existential threat to New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We’re already experiencing rising seas and hotter weather, with the last three years on record as the hottest yet. At the same time, the effects of climate change will fall disproportionately on our most vulnerable communities, exacerbating inequality. We are choosing to meet this challenge head-on, investing to make our neighborhoods more resilient and doing our part to reduce the pollution that drives climate change. Faced with presidential orders that reject sound science and common sense, I am proud to join mayors across the country in offering bold solutions capable of leaving our children a healthy planet.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer also criticized the White House.

“When you stack your administration with people who don’t believe in basic science, and when you embrace a flat-earth attitude to global warming, this is what you get in Washington,” Stringer said. “Climate change isn’t a debate — it’s a fundamental, incontrovertible reality. And the White House wants to once again deny this reality is caused by human activity. It’s an extension of an alarming pattern — from shamelessly debating inauguration sizes, to using ‘alternative facts,’ to making absurd wiretapping claims. At a time when we need bold solutions and real action, this executive order turns back the clock on progress. It’s backwards and it’s wrong.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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