Our Town: Seawright Moves to Stop M.T.S.

Seawright Moves to Stop M.T.S.logo-header-ourtown


Rebecca Seawright, the newly elected assemblywoman representing the Upper East Side, introduced her first piece of legislation at her inauguration ceremony on Sunday: a bill designed to stop the marine transfer station at East 91st Street.

The legislation would require the immediate suspension of construction on the MTS if 2,500 New York City residents sign a petition saying they have serious health and safety concerns about the project. Construction could only resume after at least two public hearings and a supplemental environmental review.

“It’s specifically drafted for the 91st Street MTS, but it can easily be amended to include other waste transfer stations in the city,” said Rebecca Graham, counsel to Seawright.

Seawright, the first woman to represent the 76th District in the Assembly, said the bill delivers on her campaign promise to fight the MTS through legislation if elected.

“It’s really personal to me to now see the potential of this going forward,” Seawright said of the MTS. “It’s just unconscionable that this could go through and I really felt strongly that this should be my first piece of legislation.”

Several East Side politicians have sought in the last few years to highlight the health and safety issues inherent in building an access ramp through Asphalt Green that would bring an estimated 720 tons of waste per day to the transfer station on the East River. The neighborhood, already troubled by pedestrian safety issues, is home to thousands of public housing residents, Asphalt Green’s soccer fields and a children’s park.

Seawright said she began working on the bill and building support for it soon after her win in the September primary. Several of her colleagues in the Assembly have expressed interest in supporting the bill. They include Linda Rosenthal, Dan Quart and Robert Rodriguez, she said.

Seawright said she’s eager to broaden that support in Albany.

“We’ll be getting out a letter to all my colleagues asking them to sign on,” said Seawright. “It’ll be an exciting time to go around with a great bill and get support for it. I think it’s an exciting piece of legislation, it’s an important issue and important cause for our community and our district.”

Seawright announced the legislation at her inauguration ceremony on Sunday, which was attended by upwards of 30 elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. State Senator Liz Krueger led the ceremonies.

Seawright also announced the opening of her new community office, on First Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets, where she will host an open house and women’s history reception on March 20 at 2 p.m. Constituents have been without a district office since June 2014 when former Assembly member Micah Kellner was stripped of his staff by former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver following a sexual harassment investigation.

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