2002-12-28 / Front Page

Comment Deadline Near On Bayswater Plant

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms

The deadline is nearing for those who want to comment on the Jamaica Bay Peaking Facility, a proposed 54-megawatt power plant that Florida Power and Light (FPL) plans to build in Bayswater.

Community residents who wish to file comments about the proposed project may do so with the NYSDEC Division of Environmental Permits, Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-1750, attn: Kevin Kispert, Project Manager. Comments must be post marked no later than December 31, 2002.

The proposal has engendered some opposition among the Bayswater community.

At a community meeting held at Far Rockaway High School two weeks ago, a number of local residents, along with representatives from the offices of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Borough President Helen Marshall, questioned whether the plant is necessary. It was only last year that the Bayswater Peaking Facility, another FPL project, was completed and activated to supply additional power to the Rockaway area.

Others who oppose that plan are more concerned about the affect the new facility will have on the environment and the health of Rockaway residents.

Bayswater activist Norm Silverman is sure that the new plant will do nothing but cause problems for Rockaway and its residents.

"This is a proposal that we must say ‘no thank you’ to," Silverman says.

"Claims that the plant is needed to provide electricity to Rockaway are false. The peninsula is connected to the entire LIPA grid which also serves Nassau and Suffolk Counties."

Silverman is one of those concerned about potential health hazards that may be associated with the Jamaica Bay Peaking Facility, citing how the Rockaways already has a high concentration of people with asthma, cancer and serious respiratory illnesses.

"For many years, Bayswater has been known as the ‘garden spot’ of Rockaway. Now it can be called the ‘hot spot" instead."

Bayswater Civic Association President Gloria Warshofsky, who believes that the plant is necessary, told the group that while she does have concerns about the project, she has not received any complaints regarding issues of air quality regarding the Bayswater Peaking Facility.

"With the enormous housing boom and development that is underway, there is no doubt that an additional power source will be needed in Rockaway," said Warshofsky.

Silverman stresses that there are other power sources that could be utilized by FPL, which pose no threat to Rockaway, and urged FPL representatives to consider using them.

"The employees who represent FPL in our community are competent and knowledgeable. Some have considerable experience in designing non-polluting sources of renewable energy using our available wind and tidal power. If we are successful in postponing the approval of the current proposal, perhaps we will be able to consider more innovative ideas," Silverman added.

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