Queens councilman reveals ambitious climate plan to protect Queens from next big storm

Costa Constantinides
Photo credit: Office of Costa Constantinides

It’s been seven years since Superstorm Sandy battered Queens’ coastal communities and killed 11 residents, and to mark the weighty anniversary, borough president candidate Costa Constantinides revealed his ambitious climate plan on Tuesday.

“Queens residents deserve leadership that ensures they aren’t displaced by rising tides or rising rents,” Constantinides said, according to a press release. “Sadly, seven years after Sandy killed 11 of our neighbors, destroyed our coastal communities and eroded our shores, we are still unprepared for the next big storm.”

Constantinides, who has  chaired the New York City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee since 2015, believes that the borough’s residents aren’t prepared for another hurricane’s “violent weather, rising sea levels and extreme heat.”

As borough president, he plans to make Queens a leader for sustainability, resiliency and green job creation in the city.

One of the priorities of his climate plan is to close dirty power plants in Queens by 2025 or sooner.

Constantinides believes that closing power plants that were built in the early 2000s will not only make it more affordable to “keep the lights on,” but will also help northwest and southeast Queens residents breathe cleaner air, as they have a “higher asthma rates than the boroughwide average.”

He also wants to create 50,000 green jobs by promoting Career and Technical Education for high school students, double Queens’ green spaces by using capital dollars to plant more trees and bioswales, and install solar panels on public buildings — all by 2030.

To execute these plans, Constantinides will create a new deputy borough president for sustainability.

“The plan we’re announcing today will put Queens on the course to a stronger, safer future that protects these neighborhoods by making them more sustainable,” Constantinides said. “Our movement will make Queens be the national leader on green policies that create good jobs that serve as a pathway to the middle class.”