August News

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer... But remember to keep hydrated!

What We're Talking About
Doing food scraps right, congestion pricing, sunsets, pollinators, green energy storage... READ ON!

Tarrytown Does Food Scraps RIGHT! (Right?)

Villagers have been collecting food scraps for composting for well over a year now, starting with a few collection kits sold by the Greenburgh Nature Center in the first quarter of 2018. We're up to about 300 "official" households now, split about 3-to-1 between Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. And since Tarrytown established the drop-off location next to the Senior Center last November, we've had to expand to ten 65-gallon toters to handle the load between Tuesday pick-ups. We're collecting nearly 3/4 ton of scraps each week, and that's good!

What's NOT so good is when the carting company comes to collect our toters and finds a plastic bag or some non-compostable cup or bowl mixed in with the "good" stuff. They don't pull it out, they put a sticker that says "OOPS!" and that toter gets left to fester in the heat a further week! We checked the night after this week's pickup, and sure enough, one of the toters had an "OOPS!" sticker and contained a large plastic bag of Portugese rolls, probably from a restaurant. Please, please, be sure to put ONLY compostable stuff in the toters at our drop-off. And no plastic straws!

Another tip: Try to drop off your scraps soon enough before they start to rot in the bin. When that happens, since they are not aerated, the scraps start to decompose "anaerobically", which basically turns them into sewage, and they smell really foul! We don't have rinsing facilities at the current drop-off site, and we haven't (yet) established a system to swap clean toters for the dirty ones, so any foul odors tend to propagate.

Thanks to all who participate in this program to keep heavy - and useful - food scraps out of our regular trash! If you haven't joined yet, you can get a convenient collection kit at the Warner Library, Senior Center or Village Hall.

The View From Our Kayaks

So, after TEAC notified the Village about the collapsed seawall at Tarrytown Boat Club, it was cleaned up, though it's not yet rebuilt. And, we thank Rich Slingerland for his response in getting the beached dock removed from Pierson. Thanks also go out to Howard Wessels and Anthony Ross, as DPW and Parks cooperated on that effort.

The remnants of the old TZ Bridge structure are history, though the underwater support columns are still being removed. We're told that once they are gone and Tappan Zee Constructors completes the marine portion of their work, they will dismantle the work-boat docking area next to Horan's Landing and finally open the "shortcut" between there and the Hudson Harbor RiverWalk.

In case you were't aware, you can now walk (or cycle) from Lighthouse Landing along the Edge-On-Hudson development to the Tarrytown Lighthouse, and even on to Kingsland Point Park. It's a delightful jaunt, especially during one of the amazing Hudson sunsets we've been getting.

Work is progressing on rebuilding the seawall along Losee Park. They will probably have to relocate the kayak racks, at least temporarily, to finish installing the sheet piles and riprap, and there are plans to improve the access at the kayak launch ramp, where we've had to endure landing our boats on sharp rocks and piles of debris.

NY State Congestion Pricing

Driving into Manhattan for work, a Broadway show, or dinner at your favorite restaurant may come with an added cost in the near future but if all goes as planned, the imposed fees will improve the quality of life for many New York City residents and visitors.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Congestion Pricing Plan, part of a larger 20-point agenda for the state of New York, was delivered earlier this year but is not expected to start until 2021. The Congestion Pricing Plan aims to reduce traffic congestion in key areas of Manhattan by imposing fees on cars and trucks that enter the borough below 60th Street. The funds collected from the pricing will benefit the New York City public transit system by making long overdue system upgrades.
Like many public issues that affect our wallets, the congestion pricing plan has its share of supporters and opponents.

  • Fewer cars, in theory, will produce less pollution.
  • Helps reduce the social cost of driving on Manhattan’s infrastructure.
  • Fewer cars on city streets will cut down on travel time.
  • Increase in GDP. Traffic congestion in urban cities lowers GDP by as much as 3.50%.
  • Create more pedestrian and bike friendly areas within the borough of Manhattan.
  • Expensive program to administrate.
  • Lost revenue for businesses in the proposed congestion pricing zone. 
  • Promotes social inequity by imposing a tax on a segment of the poor population. 
  • More people will use public transit which will overburden the system further.
  • Adds another tax to an ongoing list of taxes that residents already pay. 
London, Stockholm, and Singapore are successful international models to follow however, New York would be the first city in America to launch the program. Congestion pricing is a bold plan with plenty of criticism but the benefits are positive. The environmentally-friendly measure will save on fuel costs, reduce carbon emissions, and improve air quality for millions of New Yorkers. Follow the issue as the details emerge from Albany and New York City.

Moving (electrons) and Storage

As we mentioned last month, a major stumbling block with non-carbon energy sources is the current lack of distributed energy storage, to ride out the times when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

TEAC attended a half-day workshop led by NYSERDA (NY State Energy R&D Authority, responsible for implementing programs to reach NY's carbon-reduction goals), to inform local municipalities on how to update their building codes and zoning requirements to allow "BESS": Battery Energy Storage Systems. They are the best hope for us to bridge that gap between renewable energy generation and usage, on residential, community and utility scales.

Current building and zoning regs are essentially ignorant of the special needs of BESS, which include aspects of land use, asthetics, safety, resiliency and emergency access. Battery storage systems compress megawatt-hours of energy into a small space, and as we've seen on a small scale from the rare instances of battery failure in electric vehicles, the release of all that power in a short span can create an awesome conflagration not easily managed by normal firefighting. Safety requires setbacks, spacing, intrusion security and fire detection and suppression. If outdoors, visual and audible screening should be required to avoid pushback from nearby residents.

To this end, laws need to be passed BEFORE our Village gets applications for, say, a Tesla PowerWall in a home basement or a community solar project project with onsite storage. NYSERDA provided us with a model ordinance that we will pass onto our local officials for their consideration.

Kara Whelan of WLT Speaks of Birds and Bees

If you haven't yet done so, we recommend watching the July "Indy Talks" interview with Kara Whelan, VP of the Westchester Land Trust. Barrett Seaman of The Hudson Independent asks Kara about WLT's work protecting valuable lands and how they have partnered with others on promoting "Pollinator Pathways" in our area. 

TEAC also looks forward partnering with The Hudson Independent to continue a monthly series of articles on environmental and sustainabiliity topics.

Curious about TEAC? Come to a meeting!

TEAC relies on volunteers to keep things moving. Join our monthly meetings to see what's going on, and how you can pitch in.

Each month, TEAC meets on the 2nd Wednesday in Village Hall, One Depot Plaza, at 7:30PM. The next regular TEAC meeting will be on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2019. The meetings are open to all.
Rain, Rain, Go Away! Come Again Another Day!"

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Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council · One Depot Plaza · Tarrytown, NY 10591 · USA

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