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There was enough blame to go around this week as lawmakers throughout northeast Queens criticized different agencies for their responses, or lack thereof, to Hurricane Sandy.
The superstorm swept through the Northeast, leaving various parts of New York and New Jersey battered by storm surges, downed trees and power outages. And as both the city and Consolidated Edison worked to turn the lights back on in New York, lawmakers, including City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), called for a quicker response in Queens.
“Con Edison is working diligently to restore power throughout the city, but relief in Queens can’t come fast enough,” Halloran said. “The city has serious priority issues.”
In response to the storm, Halloran asked Con Ed to establish more dry ice stations throughout the borough and to make more long-term plans to implement underground power lines to reduce downtime after serious storms.
“We ask Con Ed to make Queens as much of a priority as Manhattan and get us moving again,” Halloran said.
As of Tuesday evening, Con Ed said the utility restored electricity to more than 860,000 customers — about 88 percent of those who lost power throughout New York City and Westchester County. Of the 118,000 customers still without power, 26,000 came from Queens, 22,000 from Brooklyn, 12,000 in Staten Island, 5,500 in the Bronx and 1,400 in Manhattan, a Con Ed spokesman said.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) also criticized the city for not acting quickly enough to remove trees that have fallen on top of homes in Queens, a task he said the city Parks Department would take 30 to 50 days to complete.
“Once again, the city is falling short in its response to this devastating storm,” Avella said. “This is simply intolerable when any sudden shift can further damage a residents’ home. There is no reason that Parks cannot remove these trees within a week.”
Avella also spoke out against the city Department of Buildings in a letter addressed to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying his constituents had been receiving violations on their homes since the storm.
Bloomberg also jumped on the blaming bandwagon, saying that while Con Ed had made significant progress in the relief efforts, the Long Island Power Authority has not performed as effectively for residents in the Rockaways.
“We realize that LIPA has outages throughout Long Island, but the Rockaways were hardest hit by this storm — and when it comes to prioritizing resources, we think they should be the first in line,” Bloomberg said. “So far, that has not appeared to be the case — and that is just not acceptable.”
After the storm swept through the region, leaving thousands without power, gasoline became scarcer throughout the Northeast and prompted U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Hauppauge) over the weekend to ask both the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide more generators to gas stations throughout Long Island.
“We are facing a gas crisis on Long Island,” Israel said. “State and federal officials have made progress on reopening the ports to improve supply, but 70 percent of gas stations still lack power. In addition to ensuring power is restored, I am calling on New York state and FEMA to get generators delivered immediately to gas stations that have gas but no power, so we can get the gas pumping again.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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