Rikers Island, New York City’s most notorious holding pen, could one day be home to renewable energy generation, as well as a wastewater treatment plant.
Costa Constantinides, the chairman of the city council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, was the co-author on all three bills. Two of the bills request permission to conduct a feasibility study while one outlines the control Constantinides’s office would have over the process.
“The Director of the Mayors’ Office of Sustainability, or such other agency or city official as the mayor shall designate, shall conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the economic costs, value, rate of return and sustainability of constructing renewable energy sources combined with battery storage facilities on Rikers Island,” the third bill reads.
The first bill requests permission for a feasibility study regarding the wastewater treatment facility. The second bill is an amendment that requests Constantinides, “shall have charge and control over the location currently known as Rikers Island” and that, in the event that the Rikers inmate population drops below 5,000, an evaluation can take place regarding unused buildings’ fitness for environmental use.
Should the bills pass, they would take place immediately. From there, the Office of Sustainability and the group assigned to the wastewater treatment plant feasibility study would have 12 months to submit their plans.
The Commissioner of Environmental Protection could be the ultimate authority in the handover from the Department of Correction to the Department of Environmental Protection. However, the bills give Mayor Bill DeBlasio leeway to designate a leader of his choosing.
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