Archive for the tag 'environmentalism'

The Snowy Owl was recently removed from the kill list. But bird killing still goes on. (Photo submitted by Stuart Fries, but taken by anonymous friend)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey killed 26,000 birds over the last four years who had the misfortune of being in and around the John F.Kennedy Airport area.

According to DNAinfo, 1,600 of these birds were protected species – meaning they were endangered or at-risk species – that the authority did not have permission to kill. Citing internal records, between 2009 and 2013 1,628 birds from 18 different species that were killed were protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

While the agency is in charge of the airport and had permission to shoot “problem” species that threatened airplanes going in and out of the airport, the report has found that many of the killings were beyond the scope of the permission the agency had.

DNAinfo writes:

The Port Authority, which contracts the job of managing airport bird hazards to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is able to shoot these species because its permits make allowance for “emergency situations,” according to the permit.

That means any migratory birds can be exterminated if they are deemed to pose a “direct threat to human safety” — with the exceptions of eagles and endangered or threatened species, under the law.

Carol Bannerman, a spokeswoman for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the actions it takes to reduce wildlife hazards at airports are “in compliance with federal and state rules” and that it relied more on non-lethal measures.

The agency has also gunned down the brown-headed cowbird, boat-tailed grackle, common raven, American crow, fish crow and waterfowl and wading birds that relish the coastal wetlands neighboring Kennedy, such as the wood duck, bufflehead, American wigeon, semipalmated plover, sanderling, least sandpiper, black-crowned night heron, great egret and cattle egret, according to Port Authority records.

The New York Post, also reporting on the issue, quoted animal-rights groups that called the agency “trigger happy” and:

“We find it upsetting they discontinued [nonlethal controls] . . . and decided it was more cost-effective to just shoot them,” said Glenn Phillips of New York City Audubon Society.

The Post reported that they also killed animals even if they didn’t have wings. “Tarmac hunters also killed four red foxes, 11 coyotes, 44 muskrats, 62 woodchucks and 11 white-tailed deer. Eighty-two eastern cottontail rabbits were killed at Newark and JFK airports, along with 44 black-tailed jack rabbits at JFK.”

The agency’s readiness to kill birds has been the subject of much controversy before and they recently removed the snowy owl from their kill list. And even when the agency isn’t killing birds, the airport still causes environmentalists to cringe.

The airport is in the middle of the Atlantic flyway, one of North America’s busiest routes for migrating birds. It’s surrounded by national parkland and a wildlife reserve.


Nelson scored a perfect 100 on NYLCV's Environmental Scorecard, and also sponsored two of the bills on which other councilmembers' votes were evaluated.

If you listen to the putzes up in “the city,” our little corner of Brooklyn is full of backwards yokels, intent on destroying the environment through our frequent opposition to bike lanes and our love of automobiles. In fact, another neighborhood website publisher once told us that most other “bloggers” call Sheepshead Bites the anti-bike blog.

Well, I don’t buy it. Never have, never will, and now we’ve got some backup: the New York League of Conservation Voters.

The NYLCV is a statewide environmental advocacy organization that publishes a scorecard evaluating the voting records of elected officials throughout the state. They just wrapped up their New York City Council scorecard, and found that Southern Brooklyn’s representatives are among the most environmentally-concerned folks in the legislative body. And that’s saying a lot – the Council’s average score jumped to 90 this year – up from 68 in 2009 and 45 in 2005 – making it the “most pro-environment Council in recent memory,” the report states.

The group evaluated the votes on 11 bills, including two pieces of legislation introduced by local Councilman Michael Nelson that requires various city departments to make a plan to curb illegal dumping in the waterways, and increased the fines for such illegal dumping.

Speaking of Nelson, he scored a perfect 100. As did Lew Fidler. And Jumaane Williams and David Greenfield.

In fact, the only council person in the vicinity of Community Board 15 that didn’t nail a perfect score was Domenic Recchia, who scored an 82 after missing the vote on Nelson’s waterways bill, and voting against a bill not sponsoring a bill requiring an increase in storm water-tolerant native vegetation in order to reduce combined sewer overflows. [ADDITIONAL INFO PROVIDED BY RECCHIA'S OFFICE BELOW]

In all, 22 of the council’s 51 members received perfect scores. The three worst scores were Councilmembers Helen Foster (36), Annabel Palma (64) and Larry Seabrook (64) – all representing the Bronx.

UPDATE (4/12/2012): Domenic Recchia’s office got in touch to let us know that the bill mentioned above, requiring an increase in storm water-tolerant vegetation, never came up for a vote and so he did not vote against it. “Intro 75 is still laid over in the Committee on Environmental Protection of which Councilman Recchia is not a member and therefore could not cast a vote,” his office told us. His office added that not all of the bills the NYLCV evaluated actually came to a vote, and the ones that did not were evaluated by whether or not the councilmember was listed as a co-sponsor. And since the bill never came to a vote, the councilman was unfamiliar with its contents and so could not say whether he would have voted for it or not.

Source: DEP

I confess, come Saturday I shall be refreshing the North Shore edition of SI Live, waiting in curious anticipation to see how the impending weekend rain barrel distribution at the College of Staten Island works out for residents of “The Forgotten Borough” (although, for those of us enduring a third consecutive Bloomberg Administration, that could easily refer to all of the boroughs except for Manhattan).

Read why this matters, and weigh in on whether Southern Brooklynites are getting screwed.

Weiner spoke against the RPA plan (Source: A Walk In The Park)

Members of the Jamaica Bay Task Force Group (JBTF) hosted a meeting last week to decry plans calling for the destruction of 400 acres of Jamaica Bay wetlands to clear the path for a runway expansion project at John F. Kennedy Airport.

More than 150 people, including the JBTF — a cadre of citizenry, scientists, and federal, state, regional, and local agency representatives, staunchly guarding the wildlife refuge for more than 20 years — crowded into the American Legion Hall at 209 Crossbay Boulevard in the Broad Channel section of Queens during what was, at times, a heated dialogue over the Regional Plan Association’s (RPA) report, “Upgrading to World Class – The future of the New York Regions Airports” (pages 150 to 154), which proposes eliminating a sizeable acreage of “what is not simply New York City’s ecological crown jewel but a wetlands and estuarine area of national importance,” according to a press release from NYC Park Advocates.

“One of the major shortcomings of the report was that actual users, including environmentalists and civic organizations were not consulted,” said Geoffrey Croft, the president of NYC Park Advocate, of the report, developed by a conglomerate of multi-tiered stakeholders from all levels of government and funded by the Port Authority.

Continue Reading »


Environmentalists, civic groups, local pols and members of the fishing and boating community, outraged over a plan calling for the destruction of 400 acres of Jamaica Bay wetlands to clear the path for a runway expansion project at John F. Kennedy Airport, finally have a chance to speak out tonight.  The Jamaica Bay Task Force Group is hosting a town hall meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the American Legion Hall, 209 Crossbay Boulevard in the Broad Channel section of Queens.

Find out what all the hubbub is about.

A Gravesend native is saving our environment. His secret? It’s all in the name.

Solar Bawabeh, 31-years-old, of Syrian descent, remembers being teased as a child for his unusual first name, but now his uncommon moniker is the inspiration behind his new company, Solar Rainbow, that installs solar panels and sells the energy to businesses.

“My whole life, people were making fun of my name,” Bawabeh told the Daily News. “But now, it’s an icebreaker in business.”

Continue Reading »

A flyover of Jamaica Bay, from a plan approaching or departing JFK. (Source: felix.castor/Flickr)

A planned expansion of John F. Kennedy Internation airport has environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts livid, as proposals call for development on portions of the federally protected Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently announced plans to expand capacity at Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and JFK airports, and the varying options include one, at JFK, that includes filling in – or to “reclaim” – nearly 400 acres of  Jamaica Bay, an important part of the National Parks System filled with plant and fish life.

Find out what people are saying about the plan.