Councilman James F. Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) applauded the passage last week of three critical pieces of legislation that bring the city closer to the goals outlined in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s landmark PlaNYC – including a bill that would help prevent flooding from significant rain events such as Hurricane Sandy by requiring city plantings to be storm water resistant.
Runoff from heavy rain events like Superstorm Sandy cause Combined Sewage Overflows (CSOs) to discharge over 27 billion gallons of polluted rainwater and sewage every year into bodies of water throughout New York City.
Intro 75-A, authored by Gennaro, would require city Parks and Recreation Department to draft a “Stormwater Prevention Planting Manual” to identify plants and planting materials suitable for stormwater retention and reducing the occurrences of CSOs.
“In Queens, we know the challenges of managing stormwater all too well. Several areas in our borough, and in the rest of our city, are prone to flooding with rainwater after heavy storms. This chronic flooding is due in large part to the massive transformation over the past 100 years of our city’s natural, vegetated landscape into a dense urban center where the concrete is impervious to rainwater,” Gennaro said. “This piece of important legislation, made possible by the PlaNYC Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan passed in 2008, will help mitigate sewer overflows and flooding by identifying plants and other materials to absorb rainwater right where it falls, while also enhancing the local quality of life by beautifying the city.”
Intro 887A, also authored by Gennaro, would create a “NYC Renewable Web Portal” to provide information to the public regarding the feasibility and economic viability of installing renewable energy systems in the city, and to simplify and assist interested New Yorkers in the installation process.
Currently, residents and business owners looking to cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse emissions have to navigate through an often confusing array of city resources in order find the information they need.
“Our goal with this legislation is to make renewable energy initiatives simple and accessible for everyday New Yorkers as they seek to cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse emissions,” Gennaro said. “This web portal gives home and business owners a streamlined and easy-to-navigate resource to study the feasibility and economic benefits of renewable energy initiatives that reduce our carbon footprint and combat the disastrous effects of climate change.”
Intro 399A, a bill sponsored by Councilman Al Vann (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant), would increase native biodiversity in public landscapes by requiring the city Department of Parks and Recreation to revise its planting design manual to maximize the use of plant species that are native to New York City.
“Our city’s parks are a place of recreation, relaxation and wonderment for millions of residents and visitors. This bill ensures that the natural ecosystems that make our parks so special are preserved in their original state by outlawing the introduction of invasive plant species that threaten our green spaces and the wildlife that depend on them, leaving them vulnerable to depletion and extinction,” Gennaro said.
As chairman of the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, Gennaro’s many legislative accomplishments – including the passage of a law mandating reductions of greenhouse gases in New York City by 30% – have made him a national leader on environmental issues.