Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy Spring everyone! Hope everyone is ready to play outside and breath the fresh quality air we all deserve and love! Well, I wish that were true, but if you are familiar with our work at OUTRAGE and with our partners in New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods coalition, you know that we are dealing with an environmental and health injustice. Unfortunately, North Brooklyn's asthma rates are above the national average and the highest in New York City, just shy of our friends in the the Bronx. Still, there is no need to fret as OUTRAGE is here to the rescue in their work to improve air quality, reduce the waste burden, and advocate for traffic safety in our streets.

One way in which OUTRAGE has been advocating for community improvements around the burden of Waste Transfer Stations in our community is the Illegal Truck Enforcement Task Force, which both monitors areas where trucks drive down residential streets illegally, dump hazardous waste and debris, and idle outside of homes and schools beyond the time the law allows. The Task Force works with elected officials like Council Members Diana Reyna and Stephen Levin, NYPD and local Police Precincts, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, DSNY, Community Board 1, small businesses and local residents. What is so unique about this Task Force is that it promotes dialogue between agencies, businesses, and residents to raise concerns, address issues, and plan strategies and initiatives for enforcement. One tool in which we will be utilizing to address illegal idling, which no doubt has a detrimental impact on air quality and health for our residents, is the DEC I-Watch for Air Quality campaign. This will allow us to empower residents to identify the areas with the most illegal idling. We will keep you posted as this program evolves. The next task force meeting is as follows:

What: Illegal Truck Enforcement Task Force
Where: School Settlement Association Gym
     120 Jackson St. Brooklyn, NY 11211 (L at Graham)
When: Thursday April 11, 2013, 6:30- 8:00 PM

OUTRAGE is also actively working on introducing Capacity Reduction legislation alongside Council Member Diana Reyna and our coalition, Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods, with the goal of reducing the permitted capacity of waste handled in overburdened communities. This would not only reduce garbage in North Brooklyn, but lead the way for the City to implement the Solid Waste Management Plan as it would require garbage to begin utilizing rail and barge to export waste. In Brooklyn alone, the potential legislation would eliminate 6,200 tons of waste, 1,032 collection truck trips, and 538 long-haul truck trips every single day.

Please email Courtney Renken at or call 718-388-2233 ext 124 if you have any questions about our work OR if you wish to get involved! We will continue to advocate for clean air, safe streets, and sustainable solid waste management in NYC. Happy spring and enjoy the weather!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

OUTRAGE, EWVIDCO, and Council Member Diana Reyna convene with the City of New York for the first Illegal Truck Enforcement Task Force in North Brooklyn

Greetings Member, Friends, Neighbors of OUTRAGE,

I wanted to update OUTRAGE members and Brooklyn residents on the inaugural meeting of the Illegal Truck Enforcement Task Force held at Cooper Park Community Center and hosted by Council Member Diana Reyna. If you recall, OUTRAGE presented the idea of the Task Force to the Community Board 1 in late 2011 to address the need for streamlining truck traffic in the community. We recognize that commercial and waste trucks are here to stay, but that does not mean they have the freedom to avoid rules and laws meant to protect residential streets, public safety, small businesses, and air quality. More and more people are becoming aware of the burden that traffic is having on the community and the Task Force has convened to address these concerns.

The Task Force consists of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Transportation, Department of Sanitation (DSNY), East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Development Corporation (EWVIDCO) and a number of small businesses, the 90 and 94th Precincts, Community Board 1 Transportation and Environmental Committees, and a number of stakeholders and community residents. Of course, the Task Force is not defined to these representatives and we will continue to seek out agencies, business, residents and organizations that want to support these efforts to enforce truck traffic and safety. What came out of this meeting was nothing short of productive as we were able to establish what sort of jurisdiction, City Agencies and Precincts have over enforcing traffic and the impacts of traffic on both residents and small business. We also developed next steps for making sure the Task Force achieves truck enforcement. Meetings will be held quartlerly with the next ones in early April, July, and October 2013.

In the meantime, we are developing ways to make it easier for the public to document illegal truck activity which will be forwarded to the Council Members office and presented to the Precincts, DEC, DOT, and DSNY. Today, OUTRAGE is asking community members to support this effort by documenting the illegal truck traffic you are witnessing and experiencing. Here is a link to the log-sheet that makes it easier for you to document and return to me by email or fax (718 388 8001) at your earliest convenience. Please take advantage of this opportunity to document this activity in your streets and neighborhood. Without your help this Task Force is not possible. Thank you and I look forward to working with you all!

Courtney Renken
(718) 388 2233 ext. 124

Monday, April 30, 2012

May 1 General Meeting!

Dear Friends, Members, Fans of OUTRAGE,

We have our General Meeting this Tuesday, May 1st from 6:30-8:00 PM. We will congregate at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church located at 1 Havemeyer St. in Greenpoint. Join us in our fight against garbage inequity and help us to improve the quality of life for our community. We will also be discussing our upcoming actions and events. We will look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stop Trashing Brooklyn!

This past Monday, OUTRAGE, participated in the Stop Trashing Brooklyn forum hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Members of Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods, a coalition of environmental justice focused organizations (OUTRAGE, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, New York Lawyers for Public Interest, Habitat Map, El Puente, UPROSE) presented at this forum. They shared the injustices their communities face and why the City of NY must implement the Solid Waste Management Plan today. They also called on every borough, wealthy or poor,  to accept their share of the garbage burden in NYC. One, two, or three boroughs can not take the brunt of the garbage problem in NY any longer. We have already waited too long. It takes five boroughs to produce the burden of garbage that North Brooklyn is facing today. This sentiment was not only shared by the panel members, but the respondents panel as well, which included elected officials and representatives from the offices of Stephen Levin, Nydia Velazquez, Diana Reyna, and Brad Lander. They all voiced their own personal stories of how this burden negatively impacts their own quality of life. The only way to ensure fair share of the garbage burden is by implementing the Solid Waste Management Plan of 2006.

You can help us continue the fight for environmental justice by calling Speaker Quinn (212-788-7210) right away to tell her that:
We thank her for her leadership and support in passing the 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan-however, two communities in Brooklyn still handle an unfair share of the City's garbage! (Greenpoint and Williamsburg)
The Council must FINISH THE JOB-Support legislation to reduce the waste capacity of land-based waste transfer station...s handled in overburdened communities. Make sure that each borough handles its own garbage.
The Council must SAY NO TO INCINERATORS-the "thermal Waste-to-Energy" Industry offers the same toxic incinerator pollution under a different name to our already overburdened communities.

For more information call the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods-212-244-4664 ex474" or contact Courtney Renken at

Let Quinn know today!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Update: Waste to Energy, Art @ Rennaissance, and Dept. of Sanitation Hearing

This week has been very eventful for OUTRAGE and the coming weeks will only prove to be as busy for our members and residents when it comes to garbage! The general meeting was quite productive for both our members and those who are interested in our community organization. OUTRAGE was also asked to respond to the media on the City's interest in Waste to Energy and Mayor's Bloomberg's Announcement for "PROPOSALS TO BUILD STATE OF THE ART CONVERSION TECHNOLOGY FACILITY TO CONVERT WASTE TO CLEAN ENERGY ". OUTRAGE, was one of fifty local organizations who had signed a letter to the Mayor on February 14 stating our opposition to the concept of waste to energy with the understanding that this will only bring more harm to the residents of North Brooklyn. Unfortunatly, it looks like  our voices have been neglected by the City and that they are indeed moving forward with this project. Of course, this will not stop OUTRAGE and local North Brooklyn residents from voicing our opinions and fighting back against injustice. Read more about OUTRAGE's stance on waste to energy in this article released last week in the Brooklyn Paper:

OUTRAGE was also recently asked to participate in a project by local artist Jill Sigmun and Anthropologist Gillian Goslinga with Art @ Renaissance. She will produce a peice on the North Brooklyn community based on her ongoing Hut Project. Here is an exerpt from her website describing the project:

"The Hut Project is an ongoing series of site-based activities that weaves together themes of sustainability, shelter, real estate, nature, and home. Starting last winter, I began building a series of simple structures from found and re-purposed materials. Each hut acts as a catalyst for local activities such as performance, video, collaboration, and community dialogue. The huts are containers—places where the concepts of dwelling, structure, and art object meet. They function as extravagant versions of the ‘emergency preparedness kit’, vodou ‘paquet congo’ that derive their power from the objects they contain, experiments in subsistence living, and sculptures that one can inhabit."

The project will also include a number of students visiting from Wesleyan University to conduct oral history interviews with local residents and observe them in their daily lives. The most interesting part of this project is that it will focus on garbage! It will be incredible to see some beauty and sustainability produced out of the waste that has burdened our community for years. It should also bring a wider audience to the issues that our residents face.

Last, but definetly not least, OUTRAGE will be testifying at the Department of Sanitation Budget Hearing on Tuesday, March 13th at 10:00 AM. We will be present to support the City's plan to move forward with the implementation of SWMP and the development of Marine Transfer Stations to reduce waste transfer in overburdoned community. We will update you shortly!

Oh, and there really is just one last thing: You can now follow OUTRAGE of Twitter!!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Please join us for an OUTRAGE Meeting on Wednesday, March 7th!

It is that time again! We have an OUTRAGE General Meeting onWednesday, March 7th. This will be our second meeting of the year and I hope we can continue to welcome more members. Here are the details:

What: OUTRAGE General Meeting
When: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 from 6:30-8 PM
Where: 609 Metropolitan Ave

During this meeting we will continue to discuss events, actions, and campaigns focused on the implementation of SWMP and the Truck Traffic and Waste Enforcement Task Force. We hope to address the activities and organizing in the Upper East Side communities as well as continue our discussions around OUTRAGE’s plans as an organization. We also wish to share some poster art that a group of Urban Planning Pratt student's designed for future OUTRAGE campaigns and outreach.. these projects are incredible and we will post them on this site shortly.  Please mark your calendars (...while you're at it, mark EVERY other first Wednesday for OUTRAGE meetings, which would include May, July (it won't be the 4th), September, November) and I will look forward to seeing you there!