Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou Holds East River Oil Spill Town Hall

June 30, 2017

New York, NY: On June 29, 2017, Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou hosted a town hall to discuss the recent ConEdison oil spill in the East River. The town hall took place at the South Street Seaport Museum Gallery, and the panel included Assembly member Jo Anne Simon, representatives from ConEdison, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), U.S. Coast Guard, and the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

On May 7, a ConEdison substation released thousands of gallons of dielectric fluid into the East River. Niou spearheaded a letter to DEC and ConEdison highlighting community concerns over the spill, and requested a community forum on this issue. At the town hall, community members raised concerns about the oil spill, including questions about the environmental impacts of the spill, cleanup efforts, and measures being taken to prevent future spills. Pictures from the event are attached to this release.

“We must protect our natural resources, which is why it’s critical that we provide the necessary oversight of ConEd’s recent East River oil spill,” said Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. “Lower Manhattan is surrounded by water, so any interruption and pollution in our rivers is immediately felt in our neighborhoods. I thank all the panelists and community members who attended my town hall about this spill, and for their commitment to protect the East River and our environment.”

“I’d like to thank Con Edison, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Department of Health, the US Coast Guard and Lower East Side Ecology for participating in an informative panel discussion about the recent spill of dielectric oil from the Con Ed transformer in DUMBO. I share my constituents’ concerns about the impacts of this spill, the clean-up efforts and perhaps most importantly, how to prevent this from happening in the future. Thanks to Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou for organizing the event. I look forward to working with her and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright to press for continued cooperation, transparency and public engagement of Con Edison and the agencies on this issue,” said Assembly member Jo Anne Simon.

“Greenpoint, which makes up a large portion of my district, is no stranger to environmental degradation from intentional and accidental oil spills. One of the main reasons Greenpoint has been able to successfully cleanup these spills is because of the advocacy of community members. This forum speaks volumes to the importance of ensuring that oil spills are dealt with swiftly. I am confident that community members, state agencies, and my colleagues in the legislature will ensure that this oil spill is cleaned up as soon as possible with the most minimal effects,” said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol.

“CB1 is concerned about the recent incident and the need to prevent this in the future. We thank Assembly Member Niou for her leadership on bring attention and action to this important issue with our waterways,” said Anthony Notaro, Manhattan Community Board 1, Chair.

“We thank Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou for arranging this Town Hall to address the concerns of our Friends of Pier 35 group regarding possible contamination on the Manhattan side of the spill area. We appreciate that the appropriate agencies were responsive to our concerns and are taking immediate action to inspect the mussel habitat at Pier 35. We thank all the agencies involved for addressing this matter and we look forward to possible solutions that may help prevent this type of spill in the future,” said Trever Holland, Friends of Pier 35.