Residents who have long been complaining about spill over from the Fresh Pond Terminal and railway running through Queens are one step closer to getting a report to back up their objections to noise and pollution.
A coalition of legislators has formed a partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) to conduct a baseline air quality study.
Now, if the federal Environmental Protection Agency approves the needed funding, there will likely be a study by the DEC on the environmental impacts of the railroad.
CURES represents residents who want a solution to the ever-increasing rail traffic that passes close to their houses in Glendale, Maspeth, Ridgewood and surrounding areas at all hours of the night.
“I am encouraged and grateful that the DEC has agreed to support this study,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) in a joint press release. “As rail traffic has increased over the years, there has been a noticeable change in environmental conditions in the communities that surround these tracks. This partnership will indicate to the EPA that the impact these railways are having on communities has gained the state government’s attention.”
Hevesi has taken a lead in advocating for the study along with other legislators such as Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Middle Village), Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood), and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).
“I thank the DEC for their cooperation in this effort. For too long the residents of Middle Village, Glendale, and their surrounding communities have had to deal with terrible sights, smells, and sounds,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller. “Hopefully this study will show the EPA that there is a serious concern here and it will inspire action on their part.”
An application for the funding had to be in by April 20, and the EPA will make the determination to fund it or not by late May.
“As freight rail movement increases in our neighborhood, we need to do everything we can to make sure we understand the negative effects of diesel trains and do everything we can to minimize the impact on local residents,” said Councilwoman Crowley. “I am grateful for the DEC’s support and will continue to work with my colleagues to help the residents of Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village.”
Mary Parisen, co-chair of CURES applauded this step in the right direction.
“CURES deeply appreciates the partnership our city and state elected officials have developed with DEC Commissioner Martens and his staff and the technical support DEC is willing to provide for this EPA Citizen Science grant application,” she said.