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