NYLPI Testifies at City Council Oversight Hearing and Pens Op Ed to Keep Community Composting Organizations Operating

December 22, 2020

Environmental Justice, Legislative, Media Coverage, News, Save Our Compost

Senior Staff Attorney Melissa Iachan testified at a joint Parks and Sanitation Committee Hearing on Friday, December 18, 2020, and answered questions from City Council members on purported legal justifications for the Parks Department’s imminent eviction of Big Reuse and LES Ecology Center, two integral community composting organizations. As Melissa noted in her testimony and responses to the Council Members’ questions, there are no legitimate legal reasons for the two non-profit organizations, who conduct critical services for their communities, to be forced out of their current sites. NYLPI testified alongside more than 100 community members, composters, school children, community organizations, and advocates outraged by the decision to oust the non-profits from their compost yard sites.

You can view the recording of the Parks and Sanitation Committee Hearing at the New York City Council Legislative Research Center.

Following the hearing, Melissa and Eric A. Goldstein of NRDC co-authored an Op Ed reiterating the error of the de Blasio administration’s position.

City Limits: Opinion: Parks’ Plan to Evict Beloved Composting Sites Would Strike Blow to NYC Climate Goals

By Melissa Iachan and Eric A. Goldstein
December 21, 2020

The decision [to evict two beloved non-profit groups that are running successful community composting operations] runs directly contrary to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious climate objectives, his “Zero Waste to landfills” goals and his long-standing commitment to environmental justice.

Waste is a major source of environmental injustice and a driver of climate change. Organic waste comprises more than 33 percent of the city’s waste stream, and this waste is sent to landfills and incinerators after being trucked into and out of environmental justice neighborhoods where garbage transfer stations are disproportionately located.

In contrast, sending food scraps and yard waste to composting facilities eliminates the pollution and produces a useful end product that reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, stabilizes and enriches soil, and helps curb plant diseases and pests.

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