Environmental Concerns Raised About Brooklyn Con Edison Project

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Williamsburg residents are protesting the ongoing demolition of an abandoned power plant by Con Edison, saying the company has failed to address concerns about potential health hazards created by the operation.

According to Council Member Eric Gioia, who led a rally of neighborhood residents and community leaders yesterday to call for a halt to the demolition, Con Edison has refused to supply the community with requested information regarding the operation’s environmental impact. At issue are concerns that dust from the decrepit structure could be contaminated with asbestos and lead paint and threaten nearby residents as well as pedestrians at a public park across the street from the plant. The hulking 102-year-old brick building, situated on Kent and Division avenues, has been closed since 1999, according to the New York Times.

“New Yorkers should not have to beg for basic assurances that the air they breathe is not toxic,” Mr. Gioia said yesterday. “The site may be safe, but these residents just don’t know, and with Con Ed’s track record, it’s no wonder they’re worried.”

A spokesman for Con Edison, Robert McGee, said yesterday that the demolition is being properly handled in accordance with state and local regulations and that the area’s community representative had been consulted beforehand.

“The careful planning in connection with the remediation and demolition of the obsolete and antiquated Kent Avenue plant has been ongoing for some time, and is being carefully carried out in a way that is environmentally responsible and safeguards the community,” Mr. McGee said in a statement.

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