Sparks Fly over Planned Brooklyn, N.Y., Power Plant

Daily News, New York - December 27, 2002

Greg Wilson

Dec. 27--Critics complain about what a proposed mammoth power plant will do to the Brooklyn waterfront, but developers are boasting about what the project will do for it.

The billion-dollar, 1,100-megawatt cogeneration facility proposed on N. 12th St., on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, would clean up a toxic site, improve air quality and give the revitalizing waterfront a sleek new signature building, according to TransGas Energy Systems, which is seeking state approval for the plant.

"It will become an anchor and an economic engine, providing jobs, generating millions of dollars in economic activity and spurring additional future investment," said TransGas President Adam Victor.

But community activists have a different take on the project -- and Victor's predictions.

"It's all crap," said Adam Perlmutter, an attorney and board member of Greenpoint Waterfront Association Parks and Planning. "That waterfront is a dormant, formerly industrial area that the city is in the process of rezoning for residential. ... Something like this will be the death knell for waterfront revitalization."

TransGas wants approval from the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment to build the plant to convert natural gas into electricity.

It would be built at 1 N. 12th St., on the site of a fuel oil terminal. TransGas officials say the project would pull 300 diesel trucks off local roads every day.

Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Councilman David Yassky (D-North Brooklyn), Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) and Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) have spoken out against the power plant proposal.

They and other local critics say a power plant runs counter to the city's efforts to open up the north Brooklyn waterfront to residential and public use.

But it's the state that decides whether the project goes forward. Gov. Pataki appoints members of the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, responsible for approving power-plant projects throughout the state.

Pataki has not tipped his hand about where his administration stands on the project. Jennifer Farina, a spokeswoman for Pataki, said last month that increased waterfront access remains a priority for the governor and he "appreciates the depth of concern in the Greenpoint-Williamsburg community regarding the proposed power plant."

But she added: "Interfering with the siting process could leave its final decision subject to legal challenge."


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