New York City is preparing three bills to change the infamous Rikers Island into a solar farm and wastewater treatment facility.
What We Know:
- Rikers Island is known for being a violent jail. It sits on a 400 acre island. In addition to this, it has a history of pollution. In 1903, it began to be used as a landfill for coal ash. Coal ash contains toxic chemicals. This has caused health problems for the staff and inmates of the island. In 2012, six guards with cancer filed a lawsuit for being exposed to carcinogenic pollution.
- There are three bills that are being discussed. The first and second bill requires the city to determine how much it would cost to install renewable energy, batteries, and a wastewater treatment facility on the island. The third bill will transfer the island’s deed from the city’s Department of Correction to the Department of Environment Protection.
- Rikers Island is scheduled to close in 2027 but it might be sooner than that. Despite its history, there are many luxury companies looking to buy the real estate. Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides has spoken out about this. “We know the atrocities that have happened on Rikers Island for close to 100 years. Its important that we start planning for this renewable future now and not wait until the jails are closed.”
Rikers Island currently houses around 10,000 inmates and the renewable structures will not begin until that falls below 5000.