Queens County Politics Morning News Bites Feb. 12, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Hyndman Supports Airport Workers in Passage of Healthy Terminals Act

Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman

Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman (D-Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans, Addisleigh Park, Hollis, Springfield Gardens, Jamaica) today will join with airport workers, who say it is unfair they work on the frontlines without access to quality, affordable health insurance.

Specifically, Hyndman is sponsoring the Healthy Terminals Act, a bill to provide airport workers with a benefits supplement they could use to acquire quality, affordable healthcare.

The proposed landmark Healthy Terminals Act will provide workers at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and New York Stewart International Airport with benefits supplements compensation that they could use to acquire health insurance.

Airport workers are currently exposed to a hodge-podge of employer-provided health plans, including many that won’t even qualify as health insurance, that have high premiums, high co-pays and high deductible before workers can even access healthcare. Many workers often choose to go without health insurance. And the risks that come with working in some of the most heavily trafficked airports in the world without health insurance are heightened when health scares like the CoronaVirus happen.

Hyndman, close to 100 32BJ SEIU airports members, 32BJ SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Larry Engelstein, and the Senate bill sponsor Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) will join Hyndman and other elected officials to shed further light on the issue at 11:30 a.m., today, Feb. 12 on the Senate 4th Floor Lobby, New York State Capitol Building in Albany.

Addabbo Co-Sponsors Bill To Permanently Ban High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) yesterday co-sponsored a Senate bill (S6906), which would permanently ban horizontal drilling, high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), and gelled propane hydraulic fracturing in New York.

“I have long opposed hydrofacking in New York State, and now we have proof these activities create clear, present and permanent danger to our environment and the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers,” said Addabbo. “A permanent ban on horizontal drilling and HVHF is critical and long overdue given the significant and unacceptable risks to our drinking water, air quality, environment, climate, and public health,” Addabbo added.

Over the past few years, scientific evidence has demonstrated the serious public health and environmental risks from horizontal drilling and HVHF. Reports issued by the EPA in 2015 identify inherent problems and pathways to water contamination. Horizontal drilling and HVHF leak and release significant methane and other greenhouse gas emissions, making the process harmful to climate change. Studies have linked these activities to increased rates of hospitalization, respiratory illnesses, low birth weight and preterm births, and other health impacts.

Additionally, the legislation would prohibit hydraulic fracturing using propane, including liquefied or gelled propane known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). 

“I am pleased to co-sponsor this important legislation which validates my never-ending commitment to protecting our environment, public health and addressing climate change,” Addabbo said. “We will continue to do everything possible toward achieving 100% clean power by 2040, by seeking alternative measures that won’t jeopardize our health or natural resources.”

Meng Still Has Questions On Flushing Waterfront Proposal

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) yesterday said she still had questions regarding the proposal to rezone and redevelop the Flushing waterfront.

“As I previously wrote in a letter to Community Board 7, there are many questions that must still be answered about this project. I have a number of concerns and priority areas that must be better addressed including: the low percentage of affordable housing units; the need to ensure the highest environmental standards and public access for Flushing Creek; a commitment to hire locally with family-sustaining wages and the use of union labor; not adding to existing congestion or negatively impacting quality of life in the area; and the necessity of educating the children who would reside in the proposed housing units, as schools in Queens are already at overcapacity.

“Flushing is an outstanding and vibrant community that continues thrive. Its future growth and success must include the needs of area residents. We want Flushing to be an exceptional and welcoming neighborhood that New Yorkers can proudly call home for generations to come.

“With this proposal being such a major project for the area, it is critical that the process not be rushed. All of the issues I’ve raised must be addressed before the plan is voted on by the City Council,” said Meng.