Sept. 27, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Congress Member Carolyn Maloney is calling on state officials to shut down a smokestack at a Long Island City power plant that is the biggest polluting plant in New York.
Maloney joined residents of the Queensbridge Houses Saturday to renew their call for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to close down the smokestack known as Big Allis at the Ravenswood Generating Station.
Maloney penned a letter to the agency Friday demanding it shut down the Big Allis, the largest smokestack at the power plant which is located across from the Queensbridge Houses.
She said the operating company of Big Allis, Rise Light & Power, submitted a plan earlier this year to replace the polluting plant with a renewable energy alternative, but it hasn’t been approved by the state.
Instead, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced this week two green energy infrastructure projects to power the city and neither included a plan to shut down Big Allis.
“While the approved plans provide some climate benefits, I am extremely disappointed that neither of these projects contain a promise to shut down ‘Big Allis,'” Maloney wrote in the letter.
These 3 stacks behind me can kill, and they have been for decades in Western Queens.
I just left a meeting with Western Queens NYCHA Residents’ Association leaders to continue our efforts to SHUT DOWN ‘Big Allis’ because ‘Asthma Alley’ is KILLING our community. pic.twitter.com/bjspd6L2K1
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@CarolynBMaloney) September 25, 2021
Maloney said she was upset that the state chose not to retire the smokestack given its detrimental effects on the surrounding community, such as Queensbridge. The area and western Queens more generally is often called “Asthma Alley” due to its high rates of residents with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
“Our communities and our environment cannot afford to pass up this opportunity to address the
dangers of ‘Big Allis,'” Maloney wrote. “It is absolutely unthinkable that people are dying in ‘Asthma Alley,’ and existing proposals that could fix this were not selected.”
Queensbridge tenant leaders said they will “no longer tolerate the environmental injustice” they face living next to the plant.
“Power plant pollution has affected our lives and wellness over years,” said Stephanie Chauncey, Queensbridge Residents Association, PSA9 President. “… Big Allis must come down. Together we will fight until the transition is done – our families’ lives depend on this transition.”
Rise Light & Power’s proposal would make all outputs from the Ravenswood Generating Station renewable by 2026.
“Our constituents deserve clean air, and this Board can help deliver it,” Maloney wrote. “We cannot afford anything less.”