Costa Constantinides

Improving Astoria’s Environment

Air Pollution

Astoria has some of the worst air pollution in New York. Costa will work to clean-up Astoria’s dirtiest power plants. It’s time for the New York Power Authority to stop building power plants in Astoria and permanently retire the oldest and dirtiest plants. Issue one is to dismantle, once and for all, the Charles Poletti Power Plant to guarantee that it can never be reopened. It’s time for a clean energy future and Astoria can lead the way. Astoria is one of the best locations in the world for off shore wind. If elected, Costa will work to shuttered our old, dirty power plants and encourage clean energy development that will create jobs.

Protecting Our Drinking Water

Astoria’s water supply is threatened by the dangerous and controversial gas drilling technique known as Hydraulic fracturing (fracking). In order to extract the gas, high volume, high pressure water and toxic chemicals are injected under ground in order to break up the rock formations and allow the companies to get to the gas. Fracking has already been shown to leak toxic chemicals into drinking water. We shouldn’t be risking New Yorker’s health. We need to ban fracking and replace it with safe alternatives. As your city councilman, Costa will work to ensure that Astoria’s water supply stays safe and clean.

More Green Space and Cleaner Parks

Astoria needs more safe and clean green space. We have too few parks, and the ones we have are often littered with trash. Additional green space—even small micro-parks—improves Astoria and Costa will work to encourage the development of new green space. As we’re expanding our parks and green space, we need to ensure our current parks are safe, clean places that everyone can enjoy. As a parent, Costa understands the importance of parks where children can run and play. As your councilman, Costa will work to expand and improve Astoria’s green space.

Dismantle Poletti

I love Astoria. It is a great place to live. We can improve the environment on the local level. Astoria is plagued with some of the worst air pollution in New York. By almost any measure—asthma, ozone pollution, particulate matter, carbon—we rank near the bottom of the list.

As a new parent, I’m particularly concerned with the prevalence of childhood asthma in our community. Childhood asthma is on the rise here in Astoria and across the country—and we know that bad air pollution days can trigger asthma attacks.

We must work to improve Astoria’s air quality to protect our children.

Astoria’s pollution is the legacy of the multiple power plants, our proximity to La Guardia Airport, and the heavy traffic in our community. Decisions made decades ago to dump power plant after power plant on Astoria mean that each of us—and our children—breathe dangerously polluted air.

We must permanently retire the oldest and dirtiest plants and prevent any new plants from being siting in our community. As someone who grew up in Astoria and has lived here my entire life, I remember that our air pollution was even worse in the past and I have seen what can happen when we stand together as a community and fight to improve our air quality.

Thanks to the Clean Air Act and the hard work of local grassroots activists and community leaders, my son is already breathing cleaner air than I did—but it’s not enough. We have a long way to go—but the victories we’ve won together show that we can do it.

The biggest victory yet has been shutting down the Poletti power plant—which stopped spewing pollution in 2010. Shutting down the dirty Poletti power plant was a tremendous step forward. It was the result of amazing grassroots activism.

If shutting down Poletti was the first step, our next move should be to follow the advice of community leader Rose Marie Poveromo, president of the United Community Civic Assocation (UCCA), and dismantle Poletti so there is zero chance for it to pollute Astoria ever again. Until dismantled, Poletti could be refired and begin polluting all over again. I am proud to be a member of the board of UCCA because they have been leaders advocating for environmental protections for our community for over 20 years. Removing the threat of Poletti permanently is crucial for all of us who live here in Northwest Queens.

It’s time for a clean energy future and Astoria can lead the way. Clean energy will create jobs, help reduce air pollution and protect Astoria from blackouts.

We have one of the best locations in the world for off shore wind. We are well positioned for new hydro generation. Solar prices are increasingly more affordable and are now accessible to many residents and businesses. Moving toward that new energy future will be easier once we’ve removed the shadow of Poletti forever.

(adapted from Queens Gazette op-ed)