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City Council Holds What May Be Last Hearing On Controversial Garbage Plan

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A long fight over how New York gets rid of its garbage could be drawing to a close. The City Council held its seventh, and perhaps final, hearing on the controversial plan Monday. Not surprisingly, hundreds of Upper East Side residents turned out to oppose the plan, which calls for a garbage transfer station in their neighborhood. NY1’s Josh Robin filed this report.

A garbage plan is still making a stink, almost four years after Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced it.

The seventh, and possibly final, hearing on the mayor's sanitation plan brought a packed City Council chamber and a rally outside City Hall Monday.

Since 2002, Bloomberg has called for using trains and barges to haul trash out of New York, while making each borough responsible for its waste. A key part is reopening a transfer station near a park on the Upper East Side.

Residents and their elected officials complain children are going to be breathing noxious odors.

“The answer is not putting transfer stations in densely populated residential neighborhoods. That is exactly what this is," said Manhattan Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.

They have filed two lawsuits and are pressing other council members to say no.

The very center of the controversy is a Sanitation Department ramp where trucks are going to be hauling trash to a facility on the other side. On one side is a field, and on the other side is a camp and a pool. Critics say thousands of people are going to be inhaling those fumes, many of them kids.

But those critics may lose. Council Speaker Christine Quinn supports a big part of the plan, a recycling plant in her own West Side district.

Quinn still hasn't weighed in on the controversial East Side facility, which was opposed by her predecessor Gifford Miller.

The mayor's plan has more support in boroughs outside of Manhattan, where residents say it's time for better-off neighborhoods to handle their own garbage.

"It's disingenuous when you raise those issues now because it's coming to your community, but as long as it was in our communities it was alright," said Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron.

Looking at the East Side transfer station, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty insists no other place is viable.

"There's not going to be any impact on these children as far as the environmental issues go,” he said. “Garbage is garbage, and it has to be moved by trucks no matter where you are in the city."

The City Council is expected to vote on the plan this summer.

- Josh Robin
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