Tag Archives: Mary Parisen

In Middle Village, civic urged to help find CURES for rail waste woes


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Ridgewood Time/Photo by Anthony Giudice

They’re not giving up the fight.

The leader of a coalition aimed at changing the way waste is shipped by rail through Glendale and Middle Village urged residents at Thursday’s Juniper Park Civic Association meeting in Middle Village to join them in their cause.

Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), informed those in attendance at Our Lady of Hope School of the group’s efforts to convince state lawmakers to ensure that any train cars carrying waste through local rail lines are capped to prevent residents from being exposed to dust and foul odors.

“We have now been working very hard on this issue, asking our electeds to push back hard, and [on Wednesday] we got a new answer,” Parisen said. “And the answer is, I don’t think we need to convince the state anymore that it has to be done. They have come and said, ‘We are going to entertain some type of closure for these rail cars.’”

Parisen explained that One World Recycling, a partner company in Tunnel Hill Partners whose rail cars travel through the Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale and Middle Village, plans to ship bales of household waste in container cars topped with construction and demolition (C&D) debris. This combination of trash would then be considered municipal solid waste (MSW) and would be covered with a lid.

“If it’s just construction and demolition debris, which is what we see, there’s not going to be any sort of a seal,” Parisen said.

The community has until July 10 to comment on the One World Recycling permit while it is still in the draft stage.

Another partner in Tunnel Hill Partners, Coastal Distribution, wants to try three different options of covering their waste. They have a permit in the draft stage, which states that the options include using a synthetic tarp cover, a mineral spray or a flexible lid, according to Parisen.

“What they want to do is give them the permit, and then test this out, test each one of these options out and have our communities be the guinea pigs,” Parisen explained. “What CURES has been advocating from the very beginning is the total sealing of all rail cars containing any sort of waste. So this is totally unacceptable. We are not guinea pigs. None of this is going to seal odors, or dust, or prohibit vectors.”

Parisen urged the community to call and write letters to Joseph Martens, commissioner of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), informing him that they will not accept anything less than hard lid coverage on all types of waste traveling in rail cars.

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Civic group continues fight against open-top rail cars in Glendale and Middle Village


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of CURES

As concerns over transporting construction and demolition (C&D) debris via rail through densely populated communities grow, civic groups in Glendale and Middle Village are looking to stop a plan to increase waste operations through local freight lines.

Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) is now looking to the state government to step in and mandate hard lid covers on all waste-by-rail operations in New York State, before allowing any type of increase in waste-by-rail operations.

“We don’t want to breathe in C&D debris,” said Robert Holden, president of Juniper Park Civic Association, a founding partner in the CURES alliance. “We will pressure our local officials to make the necessary changes, to make them change the way they do business, or at least the way they transport waste.”

CURES wants “no expansion of waste-by-rail until NYS can control it, hard lids on all waste-by-rail.” According to the civics group, Tunnel Hill Partners, the non-hazardous solid waste handling company whose railcars travel through the Fresh Pond Railyard in Glendale has hard lid technology currently in use in New York, but it’s not being used in their Long Island facility.

If the state cannot control C&D residuals in open-top railcars, CURES believes that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) should not renew the permit for One World Recycling, a Tunnel Hill Partners operating site, creating more C&D residuals within the communities where the railroad operates.

“Dust, odors, vectors, litter, debris and stormwater runoff that are controlled by NYSDEC at the trash transfer station are dumped into open rail cars and sent into our NYC neighborhoods. These are acknowledged public and community health issues,” said Mary Parisen, chair of CURES. “NYS’s clear duty is to maintain the 370-ton limit for One World, not issue any other permits that increase unsealed waste-by-rail tonnage, and pursue updates to the law that will protect our communities from this unnecessary filth while getting trucks off the road at the same time.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo stated in an email to CURES that NYSDEC reviewed a permit to increase operations at One World Recycling to haul 1,100 tons of waste per day. NYSDEC approved them for a reduced maximum total of 500 to 800 tons per day, with the requirement of lids for certain odor-emitting waste, which does not cover C&D residuals.

“CURES is strongly opposed to increasing daily tonnage at Tunnel Hill Partner’s One World Recycling facility,” Parisen wrote in a letter dated June 9 to Joseph Martens, NYSDEC Commissioner. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we and other citizens bore up under increased freight rail burdens because it was a public emergency. For Tunnel Hill Partners to take advantage, to permanently increase tonnage on a site that is inappropriately small and otherwise ill-equipped, is shameful.”

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CURES wants to put a lid on open-top rail cars


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Updated June 3, 5:05 p.m.

An odoriferous open-top rail car, filled to capacity with construction and demolition debris, has been parked for several weeks in the Fresh Pond Railyard, directly across the street from Glendale homes, raising the ire of nearby residents.

Just an orange mesh lies atop the debris of the car at the corner of 68th Place and Otto Road, leaving it exposed to the elements of nature, according to one activist.

“When you have open containers like this, you leave the communities open to odors and debris,” said Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) civic group. “The orange top is not sufficient when the railcars are traveling near schools, parks and homes. These open rail cars are hosts for vectors, odors and storm runoff. Our communities cannot be held hostage by the state of New York to these conditions.”

“The railroad won’t move it. The rail car has a defect, which is why it is parked here,” she added. “The community shouldn’t be subjugated to vermin, raccoons or even rats. These long, heavy rail cars have been creating structural damage to homes, with seismic vibrations, and keeping residents awake all hours of the night.”

The rail yard is operated by New York and Atlantic Railway, which leases the site from the Long Island Rail Road for its freight operations.

A resident of the area believes that something has to be done about this rail car near his property.

“I’m not crazy about that, it’s been here over a week,” said Peter Germano, resident of 68th Place and Otto Road. “They shouldn’t leave it like that. You get a strong wind or some rain and it can get worse.”

CURES has urged Joseph Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and elected officials for the complete containerization of all waste moved by rail, not just demolition and construction residuals.

“If you put a solid lid on top of the rail cars, you will be protecting the community since they are traveling though densely populated neighborhoods,” Parisen said. “The state needs to be responsible for this.”

In May, seven local elected officials, including state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Borough President Melinda Katz, penned a letter to Martens asking him to consider implementing the use of solid lids on rail cars carrying waste near communities.

“Additionally, we would like to follow up on the use of hard lids on all freight rail carts carrying putrescible waste,” the letter stated. “The use of solid covers to restrict pollution is a strong measure that would benefit our constituents and all New Yorkers.”

Paul Victor, New York and Atlantic Railway president, confirmed that the rail car is off the tracks and near the fencing by Otto Road. He said the car is there because it is awaiting parts for a repair before it can be put back on the tracks and moved.

He also said that the orange mesh atop the garbage in the rail car is used to signify that it is filled with construction and demolition debris, and not any other type of garbage.

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Star of Queens: Mary Parisen, co-founder, Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES)


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Mary 3

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Mary Parisen is the co-founder of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES), a coalition of some of the largest civic associations in western Queens, that came together to improve railroad infrastructure, public health and safety.

BACKGROUND:  Parisen, who works full-time as a school librarian, lives in Glendale, near the Fresh Pond Road freight. She was bothered by the noise, smell and pollution of the trains in the area. So in 2004 she spoke at a community board meeting about the concerns many people in the neighborhood had with the trains, and what came out of that was a green streets project.

“This was to try to abate the noise and make everything look nicer, but it still didn’t change the noise or the air pollution,” she said.

When Mary Arnold, Parisen’s neighbor and co founder of CURES, moved in, they both worked together to solve this problem.  The women formed a group that focused on small but successful beautification projects, and at a meeting when the issue resurfaced, Parisen said, someone suggested a group of civics be formed to tackle the problem, and that is how CURES was born.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Together with the other civic groups, CURES has been able to get the rail lines to use better technology and equipment.

GOALS: CURES’ mission is to work with federal, state and local agencies, elected officials and the railroads, to ensure that they are proactively keeping the neighborhoods clean by having the trains use better and quieter technology.

The increase in rail traffic caused an environmental burden in our neighborhood,” said Parisen.

Parisen and the group would like to see the repowering and upgrading of all locomotives in the Fresh Pond Rail terminal.  

“I’m going to have a granddaughter soon, and I don’t want to have to feel nervous to take her out of my house because of the air pollution in my area,” said Parisen.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: According to Parisen, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council has said that rail is going to increase by 50 percent by 2040.

“This increase in rail traffic should not come at the expense of the people who live in the community,” said Parisen. She added her organization is not opposed to the use of rail, but she believes that this increase should be thought with mitigation with the community.

 

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Community leaders trash railroad garbage expansion plan


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Residents and community leaders are trashing a company’s plan to increase garbage export from Long Island through their neighborhoods.

One World Recycling, which processes garbage in Lindenhurst, Long Island that is hauled by New York and Atlantic Railway through tracks in Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale, has applied to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to nearly triple its output from 370 tons of garbage per day to 1,100 tons.

“We’re going to have garbage all day and all night, that’s how we see it,” said Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES). “We’re not happy about it.”

After One World applied, the community of Lindenhurst rejected the idea during a public hearing period that ended on August 16. But following procedure, the DEC has until 90 days after that date to review the application and make a decision.

With just about a month remaining until the deadline, community leaders in Queens are worried the DEC will make the wrong choice and plan to meet with agency officials to work towards a solution.

“The potential expansion of the One World Recycling Center in Lindenhurst raises numerous concerns,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi. “I have signed onto a letter with my colleagues to the Department of Environmental Conservation urging them to deny this expansion, and I am having conversations with the DEC about this specific proposal.”

The trains wake up residents when they move through the night and some sit on tracks for hours with uncovered cars, which cause the stench of garbage to flow through the community, say locals.

The trains, which are owned by the state and licensed to New York and Atlantic, are outdated and discharge pollutants, according to area leaders. Earlier this year Hevesi, along with various elected officials, was able to get the state government to allocate nearly $3 million to retrofit a new engine for one of 11 locomotives, which will reduce the impact of gases in the community.

But the problem of garbage traveling through these communities has annoyed residents for years. It stems from the state increasing rail usage to cut down on truck transportation of garbage to relieve vehicle traffic and emissions.

“Everyone wants to get the trucks off the road, but it’s taking a problem from one area, mitigating it, and putting it in another area,” said Glendale resident Thomas Murawski. “You’re maybe solving part of the problem, but you’re not solving the whole problem.”

While they don’t want the One World expansion, CURES also wants the train cars covered to prevent the smell and hopes the state upgrades all the trains to new engines to cut down on pollutants.

“It’s not a matter of them being our enemies,” Parisen said. “If rail is the way of the future we want them to be responsible.”

Numerous emails and calls were made to One World Recycling but a company representative failed to reply.

 

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