Department of Environmental Conservation Partners with Queens Civic Group to Conduct Rail Traffic Environmental Safety Study

April 19, 2012

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Middle Village), Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood), and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) have arranged for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to enter into a partnership with Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES) for the purpose of carrying out a railway environmental study in Queens. The study is contingent upon a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has an application deadline of April 20, and will make funding determinations by late May 2012. The partnership with DEC has greatly increased the chance the study will receive federal funding.

CURES has worked closely with elected officials to attempt to alleviate environmental, health, and quality of life problems caused by industrial rail traffic in Middle Village and Glendale in Queens. The study would come at a pivotal time as multiple communities in Queens are facing the possibility of an exponential increase in rail traffic in the coming years.

“I am encouraged and grateful that the DEC has agreed to support this study,” Hevesi said. “As rail traffic has increased over the years, there has been a noticeable change in environmental conditions in the communities that surround these tracks. This partnership will indicate to the EPA that the impact these railways are having on communities has gained the state government’s attention.”

“I am pleased that New York State DEC has decided to partner with CURES for this grant opportunity,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “Queens communities have faced an increase in the quality of life problems caused by industrial rail traffic in recent years; this study will go a long way in helping to plan for the future.”

"I thank the DEC for their cooperation in this effort. For too long the residents of Middle Village, Glendale, and their surrounding communities have had to deal with terrible sights, smells, and sounds,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller. “Hopefully this study will show the EPA that there is a serious concern here and it will inspire action on their part."

"I applaud all members of CURES for continually standing up for their communities affected by freight rail traffic,” said Senator Addabbo. “This partnership is a huge step forward in proving that the increased rail activity has negatively affected residents' quality of life and overall health."

“As freight rail movement increases in our neighborhood, we need to do everything we can to make sure we understand the negative effects of diesel trains and do everything we can to minimize the impact on local residents,” said Council Woman Crowley. “I am grateful for the DEC’s support and will continue to work with my colleagues to help the residents of Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village.”