Cuomo Signs Law  to Increase Protection Measures for Jamaica Bay

Cuomo Signs Law to Increase Protection Measures for Jamaica Bay

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Sen. Addabbo sponsored the bill in the Senate, while former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder sponsored it in the Assembly.

By Michael V. Cusenza

State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) recently praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing into law a bill sponsored by Addabbo in the Senate and former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder in the Assembly that would increase protection measures for Jamaica Bay.

The Jamaica Bay Borrow Pit Bill creates a five-year extension to legislation prohibiting the dumping of toxic materials into the borrow pits – areas of deeper water depths in the bay created by projects that excavated, or “borrowed,” seabed sediments for use in other areas – under the bay. This extends through 2022 language in state Environmental Conservation Law requiring permits for filling borrow pits with materials generated by dredging projects in area waterways. Under this restriction, the sediments must also meet the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Class A criteria for chemical contamination, the state’s highest sediment classification.

“Protected green space and clean natural bodies of water are hard to come by in extremely urbanized areas such as New York City, and it is now more important than ever that we do everything we can to protect the environment we have,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Committee. “Jamaica Bay is not only one of the largest bodies of water in our borough, but it is home to dozens of different animal species in the wildlife refuge. This bill, which Governor Cuomo has now signed into law, will go a long way toward preserving the land these creatures call home and making sure Jamaica Bay stays clean and free from contamination for years to come. I thank the Governor for his continued dedication to making New York State a leader as we continue our journey toward a greener, more environmentally-friendly state.”

Dan Mundy, president of the Broad Channel Civic Association and Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, praised the work of Addabbo and Goldfeder.

“The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers are extremely pleased to learn that Governor Cuomo has signed the Jamaica Bay Borrow Pit Bill, which will ensure the bay is protected from plans to fill its deeper portions with contaminated fill,” Mundy said. “Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Senator Joe Addabbo championed this effort and pushed hard to ensure its passage. The bill closes a loophole that allowed for dredge material to be placed in the waters of the bay that would not be approved for open ocean placement due to its contaminated nature. It is fitting that this will be the final legislative effort of Assemblyman Goldfeder, who was a true champion of Jamaica Bay and the efforts to see it protected and restored for future generations. We are extremely pleased to see his replacement, Assemblywoman-elect Stacey Pheffer Amato, immediately jump into this fight, calling in to Albany in the last few weeks and urging the Governor to sign this bill and make it law. Going forward with great supporters like Senator Addabbo and Assemblywoman Pheffer, we feel extremely confident that Jamaica Bay will continue to see great things happening.”

The law is set to take effect immediately, with an expiration date of June 30, 2022.


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