NY Waterway stalling on promised ferry boat engine replacements

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CEO Goodman, left, Port Authority Janet Cox, right

CEO Goodman, left, Port Authority Janet Cox, right

January 13, 2013 By Steven E Greer, MD

At the January 15th, 2013, CB1 BPC meeting, the NY Waterway ferry company attended to give updates on their promised solutions to address noise and pollution complaints. For decades, the ferries have been a hot-button topic for BPC residents who live along the Hudson River, and for parents who take their children to the BPC Parks near the Port Authority slip by the Irish Memorial. The takeaway from the meeting was that the ferry boat company has made no progress with some of the efforts.

Recall (see below), BatteryPark.TV initiated in 2011 investigations into the noise and pollution caused by the NY Waterway ferry boats that dock in the slip near Vesey Street and the Irish Memorial. The CB1 Chairwoman Linda Belfer began investigations, and the CEO of the parent company of the NY Waterway ferries, Paul Goodman, presented to the board more then once to explain why the funds, in excess of $7 Million, granted to his company for the purpose of retrofitting his boats to replacing the polluting diesel engines, had not been put to proper use more than six years after they were allocated.

At the January 15, 2013, CB1 meeting, Mr. Goodman used Hurricane Sandy as an excuse for not making progress at replacing the existing diesel engines in his fleet that belch black IMG_0176exhaust fumes and rattle the residents with reverberating noise. Back in November of 2011, Mr. Goodman claimed to the CB1 and community in attendance that the new diesel engines had been ordered (see below). Two boats already had their engines replaced back in November of 2011. As of January, 2013, those two boats remain the only ones to have received the costly renovations.

If the engines were truly ordered in 2011 as Mr. Goodman claimed, where are they? Are they sitting in a warehouse? Why have they not been installed?

After the January 15, 2013 presentation by Mr. Goodman, who was strangely accompanied by Port Authority representative Janet Cox, the group promptly left the upstairs library venue of the CB1 meeting and walked out, with no objection from CB1 Chairman Anthony Notaro. The Port Authority is supposed to be the watchdog over the NY Waterway ferry boat company, yet they seemed to be in alliance.

BatteryPark.TV tried to question the CEO, Mr. Goodman, as he walked down the stairs and out the library. He refused to answer any of our questions. For readers who are new to this scandal, we refer you to our entire series of stories.

March 19, 2012  By Steven Greer, MD

Last November, the CEO of the company that operates the NY Waterway ferry boats announced before a meeting of the Community Board 1 that they would be replacing the polluting diesel engines of nine of their vessels that dock at the Vesey Street slip. The estimated completion date then, according to the CEO Paul Goodman, was “Mid 2012”.

The Battery Park City community near the Vesey Street slip have complained about the noise and pollution of those vessels for decades. The ferry boat company has failed to follow through with numerous promises in the past to rectify the situation.

BatteryPark.TV attempted to contact the CEO of BillyBey Ferry Company (DBA New York Waterway), Mr. Goodman, to get an update on the engine replacements. On one call, he hung up the phone with us. At our request, the CB1 staff was also trying, to no avail, to get an update from BillyBey. After more than a week of trying to reach the CEO, he finally gave a statement to the CB1.

Last November, Mr. Goodman claimed that all of the engines had “been ordered”. In his update to CB1 this week, only two boats are currently in dry dock having the engines replaced. The other seven are operating with the same maximum-polluting “Tier 0” engines. 22 other boats have had diesel particulate filters replaced, according to the CEO. This has not been verified by any federal EPA or state officials.

The CEO is now “hoping” to have the engine replacement job completed by “the end of 2012”, which is a 6-month delay from his November, 2011 comments.

Skeptics of these new promises from BillyBey Ferry Company have ample justification. In 2006, more than $7 Million in State and Federal grants were given to BillyBey to replace and update their polluting engines, and the only accomplishments to date from the grant money has been to install some exhaust particulate filters on a few boats “perform tests”. Only now, after BatteryPark.TV coverage and the involvement of the NRDC, New York Times, EPA, and elected officials, is BillyBey promising to replace the outdated engines.

The updates listed above were generated by BatteryPark.TV inquiries. To our knowledge, no member of the CB1, NYSERD, EPA, or other State and Federal agencies, had made any attempt to keep an eye on the serial offenders at BillyBey Ferry Company.


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2 Responses to NY Waterway stalling on promised ferry boat engine replacements

  1. fran says:

    Thank goodness..that someone else is keeping track of this…for years the noise is unacceptable…last weekend could not keep my windows open because of this problem…i for one want to thank BatterY Park TV and Dr steve for never giving up and for following thru with this disturbance……thanks again…but we do not it will be stalled again at the end of the year….. fran

  2. Alex says:

    I would also like to thank Battery TV and Dr. Greer for doing such a great job!!!

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