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Queens is city’s dirtiest boro, EPA report on toxins finds

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In June, the EPA released its New York State Toxic Release Inventory, which tracks disposal trends for 650 regulated pollutants.In 2002, the latest reporting year, 20 polluters dumped about 210,000 pounds of waste on Queens. That's a third times more waste than the 138,000 pounds generated in Brooklyn; nearly six times more than Staten Island and the Bronx's toxic byproducts; and a whopping 139 times more harmful air emissions than in the Bronx. But on a promising note, new emissions standards cut the amount of Queens air pollution by 67 percent from 2001, when facilities released 651,000 pounds, the report showed.State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who worked with the New York Power Authority to eliminate emissions from its Charles Poletti Power Project in Astoria, welcomed the decrease. "Thanks to our efforts over the past several years, toxic emissions in Queens are moving in the right direction: downward," Gianaris said in a statement. "The EPA report makes clear, however, that we still have far to go."The majority of Queens' pollution - 181,110 pounds - comes from three power stations in Astoria and Long Island City.The Poletti plant at 31-03 20th Ave. released 78,411 pounds in 2002; the Keyspan Energy Ravenswood Station at 38-54 Vernon Blvd. released 56,591 pounds; and the Astoria Generating Station at 18-01 20th Ave. released 46,108 pounds. By burning a more efficient fuel, the Poletti plant, which released 263,376 pounds of pollution in 2000, cut its dangerous emissions by 70 percent in two years. It led a trend of other Queens power plants cleaning up their act.Keyspan, which also dramatically cut its emissions in 2002, opened a new 500-megawatt addition to its Ravenswood plant earlier this year, heralding it as the most efficient generator in the city. The natural gas-powered plant uses a combined cycle generator, which reduces dangerous emissions by capturing and recycling heat from its primary generator. Reach reporter Matthew Monks at 718-229-0300 ext. 156 or by email at news@timesledger.com

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