Generator plan panned

Locals fight project for Greenpoint

Protesters at site of proposed TransGas power plant at Kent Ave. and N. 12th St. Coalition of community groups wants plug pulled on plan.
As Mayor Bloomberg calls for more power plants in the city, activists in Greenpoint and Williamsburg fired back a response yesterday - not here.

Since spring, an enormous 1,100-megawatt power plant proposed for the North Brooklyn waterfront at Kent Ave. and N. 12th St. has sparked a surge of community opposition in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

The project's developer, TransGas Energy Systems, argues the new steam and electrical plant will produce much-needed energy for the city - while helping to replace older and dirtier power plants.

But outraged opponents of the plan argue that the growing, once-gritty neighborhoods already are overburdened by power plants, waste transfer stations and other noxious facilities.

"If there's a need for more power plants, that needs to be shared by all neighborhoods," said longtime activist Peter Gillespie of Neighbors Against Garbage, one of roughly 100 community groups, churches, and elected officials that have joined forces to battle the proposal. Together they call themselves the Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force.

"Within a mile-and-a-half stretch, we have five existing or permitted plants," he added. "And with this one, we would have six."

Bloomberg issued the call for more city power plants Monday, two days after a transformer fire at a Con Edison plant on E. 14th St. in Manhattan knocked out power to more than 63,000 people for hours.

TransGas President Adam Victor said yesterday the mayor's remarks and the recent events underline the need for the proposed waterfront plant - which he argues is strategically close to the city's steam system and power grid.

But opponents argue that building yet another power plant on the area's waterfront will scuttle the community's long-fought revitalization plans, which they say includes parks and residential and commercial development - not power plants.

The mayor's call for more generators is likely to spark similar outcries in other parts of the city.

For zoning and technical reasons, new plants often are proposed for waterfront areas previously dominated by heavy industry but now frequently home to more residential and commercial development.

Last year, a New York Power Authority proposal for new 11 mini-generators drew opposition from activists in Long Island City, Williamsburg, Sunset Park and other waterfront neighborhoods.

So far, the TransGas project has only completed several preliminary steps in the lengthy power plant approval process. Victor said the company plans to submit its full application by the end of the year. A decision could take as long as 14 months.

"There is a need for more power plants, but this is not the place for them," said City Councilman David Yassky (D-Greenpoint), one of several elected officials who has fought the TransGas project.

Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said: "We're sympathetic to community concerns, but the city does need more power to avoid shortages and blackouts."

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