The Assembly - State of New York
Member of Assembly
6th District
September 18, 2003

Statement by Assemblyman Ramos on Legislative Hearing on New York Power Authority's Application to Increase Emissions

It seems underhanded that the New York Power Authority (NYPA) would risk our health for seven months and pay over half million dollars in fines without publicizing the matter - our community deserves better. If not for a Newsday article in July reporting these events, the public might still be unaware that their health has been jeopardized.

The Department of Environmental Conservation quietly collected the $550,000 fine after NYPA exceeded the ammonia, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide levels at the Brentwood facility located at the Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center. The Brentwood facility is adjacent to a park with soccer and baseball fields where neighborhood children go to play. These kids have been breathing in unsafe levels of nitrous oxide, a principal ingredient in ground-level ozone, a toxic compound that makes our air harmful. If something isn't done, these harmful emissions could have long-term effects on our children.

But instead of finding ways to keep their emissions at safe levels, the New York State Power Authority has applied for higher emission levels at the Brentwood Facility. We can not allow NYPA to add more pollution to our air when the Department of Health and Cancer registry already concluded the number of breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers in Brentwood exceed expected rates.

NYPA should be exploring remedies to this problem, not applying for ways to further jeopardize our health. I call on the Department of Conservation to not only deny NYPA's request but to also be forthright in making public any violations of current emission standards. The working families of Brentwood deserve to live in a community that is safe and healthy.