Gabriella Velardi Ward and Catherine Skopic at the Graniteville Wetland Prayer Vigil.

The Graniteville Wetland Forest Prayer Vigil: An Interview And Update With Gabriella Velardi

Gabriella Velardi Ward. Graniteville Wetland Forest. These are two subjects that readers of Staten Islander are familiar with. However, the matter has become much more urgent. One of the last wetlands on Staten Island, which many scientists agree protected the low income communities in the surrounding area, is in the process of being clear-cut and made into a BJs Wholesale.

This is occurring without any public input, and is the result of a settlement agreement between the NYS DEC and the developer back in 2012, before Hurricane Sandy changed everything for this community and for the island. This agreement was after a legal stalemate that lasted more than a decade, wherein the developer claimed ‘financial hardship’ because they could not develop land that they speculated on in the 1970s.

However, the nature of speculation is that sometimes your investments pan out, and sometimes they do not, whether from becoming illegal to build on (as in this case) or due to poor location and un-remediable problems. As a speculator and investor, there will always be properties that will not turn a profit. However, the developer sued the DEC and was provided with a settlement whereby the DEC agreed to redefine this parcel of land, even though doing so may have negative effects on the community.

Despite the receipt of almost 2,000 letters from residents and others, no public hearing was warranted, according to the DEC, and the wetlands that existed at this site were redefined.

In this interview, there was scientific research mentioned that relates to insect biomass reducing all around the country. This is not in contradistinction to other research, which has shown that animal populations have been drastically reduced.  Please see our article titled The Insectocalypse May Be Closer to Reality Than Anyone Thinks for the full details of the insect apocalypse, and how it is being caused and exacerbated by humans, especially by projects such as this one, agricultural overuse of pesticides, local pesticide spraying campaigns, and many other factors.



This byline indicates that this article was penned by a member/members of the Staten Islander News Organization office team. Our staff writers are the backbone of our newspaper, performing all sorts of important tasks like conducting interviews, investigating leads, besides writing the news stories you see.

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