Red Hook used to be one of America's busiest ports of call. But the advent of containerized shipping required greater upland space than the neighborhood could provide, and most of the longshoreman jobs moved to New Jersey (where On the Waterfront was shot). Containerships still dock at pier 11, but the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is also welcoming a steady influx of cruise ships. It takes a lot of energy to keep these floating cities running, and some residents are fed up with the ships' constantly idling diesel engines, which are polluting the air in Red Hook.
At a press conference this weekend, local residents joined lawmakers who are "demanding that the city, state and utilities find a clean air alternative and make available on-shore power and electricity to ships so that they can plug into an electrical grid at the port rather than sit idling," 1010 WINS reports. Councilmember Brad Lander said a cruise ship docked at port with its diesel engine running emits as much pollution in a day as 10,000 idling cars, telling reporters, "We’ve had two years of idling ships, and idling negotiations. We have a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference in the health of our communities, and the sustainability of our port. We want an agreement before the next ship comes in."
The demand for cruise ships to reduce their environmental impact has been intensifying for years. Here in Red Hook the locals simply want regulators to enable cruise ships to connect to sources of shore-side power without paying excessive fees to Con Ed. Forbes reports that one local resident recently wrote to the New York State Public Service Commission, pleading, "My young family and I live in the shadows of the smokestacks of the cruise ships that visit the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Can you help eliminate 100 tons of NOx, 100 tons of SOx and 6 tons of particulates per year from our neighborhood’s air, and our kid’s lungs, that the EPA states is created by those ships?"