In the spring of 2012, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, a sponsor of Atlantic Yards Watch, commissioned a review of Atlantic Yards’ compliance with its stated environmental commitments, which was conducted by Sandstone Environmental Associates of Metuchen, NJ. In addition to reviewing hundreds of incident reports submitted to AYW by community members during arena construction, Sandstone analyzed internal reports produced by Empire State Development Corporation’s (ESDC) environmental monitor, Henningson, Durham & Richardson Architecture and Engineering, P.C. (HDR). Sandstone’s final report documented significant issues of noncompliance with Atlantic Yards’ environmental commitments on the part of Forest City Ratner Companies and its contractors during arena construction, and made recommendations for improvements to be introduced in future phases of construction.
The Sandstone report received little acknowledgement by ESDC when it was published in July 2012. However, the report’s findings and recommendations were incorporated into the BrooklynSpeaks coalition’s response to the Draft Scope of Work for the Atlantic Yards Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in March 2013, and were also referenced in the group’s comments on the Draft SEIS (DSEIS) submitted in May 2014.
A review of the Final SEIS (FSEIS), released in June 2014, shows that ESDC and FCRC have adopted modifications of the Atlantic Yards construction mitigation and monitoring programs for future construction at the site. Although some of the changes appeared in the DSEIS, significant additions were made between the DSEIS and the FSEIS. Here is an outline of changes to the project’s monitoring protocols that parallel recommendations made by Sandstone and comments from community organizations.