When the news first came in about the state blowing up the Kosciuszko Bridge, people were pretty excited, both at the prospect of a good old fashioned explosion and the chance to see a hated bridge turned into dust. However, residents who live near the bridge are raising concerns about the consequences that blowing up the bridge could have on their air quality.
At a press conference attended by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, leaders from Community Board 1, Representative Carolyn Maloney and environmental groups, Adams and others said that the state was moving too quickly on the implosion plan and that they hadn't been given adequate information about its environmental impact on the surrounding area.
“Expeditious action should never trump public safety and health quality,” Adams said at the presser. “The community at large and the local elected officials should not find out from reading in the tabloids any new methods that could potentially damage the cleanup that we have attempted to do in this community and have worked so hard to accomplish."
Representative Maloney echoed the charge from Adams that Greenpoint residents hadn't been adequately informed about the impact of the implosion or even that it was being considered.
"Any time a significant decision like this is made, the community should be consulted beforehand. This is a community that has been suffering from real environmental hardships — poor air quality, water pollution," Maloney said. "We need to understand the potential environmental ramifications, the impact on the neighborhood, on traffic, on small businesses. We need to know what alternatives were considered and why this approach was chosen."
Bringing up the specter of the failures to protect residents' water quality in Flint, Michigan and Hoosick Falls, New York, District Leader Nick Rizzo said he didn't trust the government to keep people safe.
"Flint and Hoosick Falls teach us the same things. Do you trust the EPA going forward? We’ve gone lax keeping New Yorkers safe from toxins," he said
Jon Weinstein, a spokesman for the governor's office, rejected the idea that implosion was unsafe and that there hadn't been community input into the decision to get rid of the bridge with that way:
“The state has had more than 140 meetings to date and we will continue public dialogue with all stakeholders throughout the remainder of this project. Implosion is the safest and the most efficient plan so any theatrics or grandstanding from community leaders is not only unnecessary but entirely misleading. We are surprised that the borough president suddenly has an interest in this project considering he didn’t attend a single one of the five briefing meetings or two tours that he has been invited to since he took office.”