Attorney General James and DEC Commissioner Seggos Announce $100,000 for Environmental Programs in Brooklyn

Grant from OAG Settlement Will Support Programming at Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center, Adds to $5 Million Granted to Create State-of-the-Art Green Library

NEW YORK – In honor of Earth Day, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced a $100,000 grant for educational environmental programs at the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center (Greenpoint Library) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. On Saturday, Attorney General James, DEC, Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, and Council Member Lincoln Restler joined the Greenpoint Library, Friends of McGolrick Park, North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, and other community members to present the grant and celebrate Earth Day. Funds from the grant will support environmental education and community engagement programs at Greenpoint Library, such as the Greenpoint Environmental History Project, gardening clubs for children, teens, and adults, science and sustainability workshops, community environmental justice meetings, and more.

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“Earth Day is about celebrating our planet and committing to protect it for future generations,” said Attorney General James. “Every day is Earth Day at the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center, where daily programming creates invaluable opportunities for New Yorkers of all ages to learn about and connect with their shared environment. I am proud to join Commissioner Seggos in contributing $100,000 to support the Greenpoint Library’s efforts to continue bringing engaging environmental programs to North Brooklyn.”

“The Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center is one of the many success stories of the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund,” said Commissioner Seggos. “The innovative sustainable design of the building, environmental education resources and programing dedicated to community engagement make the Center a flagship destination to inspire and educate a new generation of environmental leaders. DEC is proud to be a part of the continued development and success of the Greenpoint Library and we look forward to our continued relationship with the Attorney General’s Office and the Greenpoint community.”

“It was a joy to spend the morning with Attorney General Letitia James, local elected officials and the Greenpoint community for a very special Earth Day storytime and celebration in McGolrick Park,” said Linda Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. “We are grateful to Attorney General James for her continued support of Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center and her steadfast commitment to environmental programming and look forward to continuing our work to advance climate justice, sustainability, and education for years to come.”

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and DEC were instrumental in the creation of the new Greenpoint Library, which opened in October 2020, providing over $5 million through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) to include state-of-the-art green features. These features included a green roof, solar power, rainwater capture and management, and high-efficiency energy and water systems. GCEF also funded books on environmental topics for children, teens, and adults, a community archive on Greenpoint’s environmental history, environmental educational plans for librarians, and equipment for STEM programming.  

GCEF is a $19.5 million competitive grant program created with funds obtained by OAG from a 2010 settlement with ExxonMobil over the Greenpoint Oil Spill. Overseen jointly by OAG and DEC, GCEF funds projects to address the Greenpoint community’s environmental priorities, including but not limited to greening buildings and infrastructure, enhancing open space, restoring the waterfront, and promoting environmental education and stewardship. Since 2011, GCEF has awarded 80 grants totaling over $17 million to 48 locally led projects and leveraged an additional $50.4 million in matching contributions from grantees, bringing GCEF’s total investment in Greenpoint’s environment to almost $68 million. 

Attorney General James thanks Commissioner Seggos and DEC for their continued partnership in overseeing GCEF, and the GCEF Community Advisory Panel and elected leaders in Greenpoint for their collaboration in its implementation. 

Attorney General James is committed to protecting New York’s environment and natural resources. Last month, Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against 29 waste haulers and brokers for illegally dumping waste at a site in Saugerties, Ulster County. In October 2022, she filed a lawsuit against Norlite to force the company to stop polluting the air with contaminants from its Cohoes facility. Also in October 2022, Attorney General James stopped a Bronx-based school bus company from allowing excessive, pollution-causing idling at bus yards. In August 2022, Attorney General James shut down Battaglia Demolition, a construction and demolition debris processing facility that created harmful conditions for New Yorkers in South Buffalo. Also in August 2022, Attorney General James won a $2 million lawsuit against James R. Lee and his corporate affiliates for flagrant violations of the state’s oil and gas well regulations. Earlier that month, Attorney General James sued an automobile salvage yard in Queens for releasing dangerous automobile chemicals and oil into the environment. In June 2022, Attorney General James reached an agreement with Verizon to ensure that the company took swift and comprehensive action to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ disease in New York state.

“Earth Day is not just about educating the public on sustainability, but also about learning practices to ensure the health of our communities,” said U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez. “The educational programs at the Greenpoint Public Library and out in the McGolrick Park will help spread awareness about the actions New Yorkers can take to help build a greener community. Thank you to New York Attorney General Letitia James for your commitment to protecting our environment.”

“North Brooklyn faces some of the toughest environmental challenges in the nation, but with Attorney General Letitia James and NYS DEC at the helm of the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, I know we can continue to make progress toward justice,” said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher. “We're so grateful for this Earth Day investment in our beloved Greenpoint Public Library, itself a product of the historic settlement with ExxonMobil for their many harms against our community.” 

“We're enormously grateful to Attorney General Letitia James for joining us in McGolrick Park to celebrate Earth Day and for making this critical investment in the Brooklyn Public Library Greenpoint Environmental Education Center that will make our education programming even stronger for community members!,” said New York City Council Member Lincoln Restler. “The Attorney General’s leadership in holding Exxon Mobil accountable makes these vital community improvements possible.” 

“We were thrilled to have our neighborhood join us to celebrate Earth Day in our park, furthering our mission for McGolrick’s beautification and supporting safe and equitable access for the people, plants, and animals of our community,”  said Jodie Love, Friends of McGolrick Park. “Our neighbors joined us for a bird walk with Heather Wolf, storytime with Greenpoint Library and Attorney General Letitia James, a plant swap with Tula House, a kids’ clothing swap, and a litter clean up. We removed 20 buckets of litter from our park! We are so honored to have been visited by Attorney General James, Council Member Lincoln Restler, Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, and Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson. Many thanks to our elected officials and to North Brooklyn Parks Alliance for their constant support and encouragement.”

“Greening’ the new Greenpoint Library is one of GCEF’s most important legacies,” said Christine Holowacz, Greenpoint environmental advocate. “With this five-year funding for its environmental programs, we are now helping the new library serve as the educational and civic hub for our community. I thank Attorney General James and Commissioner Seggos for their continuing support — and for this this wonderful Earth Day gift to the Greenpoint community.” 

“Given the legacy of pollution and ongoing environmental challenges in Greenpoint, we applaud Attorney General James and Commissioner Seggos for this investment in environmental education for the Greenpoint Library,” said Willis Elkins, Executive Director, Newtown Creek Alliance. “We are excited to continue our work with the Library, and other community partners in Greenpoint, to engage stakeholders with the past, present and future of Newtown Creek."

“I am thrilled that some of the final funds of the GCEF are going to support programming at the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center,” said Dewey Thompson, Founder, North Brooklyn Community Boathouse. “The library has already had a tangible impact on quality of life in Greenpoint and, with this funding to sustain its staff and programs, the Environmental Education Center will continue to serve as the essential hub of this vital work in a community that still struggles with its environmental legacy.”