Addabbo legislation to permanently protect Jamaica Bay from contamination approved by Senate

NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is applauding the Senate approval of legislation (S.4165/A.5767) he sponsors to permanently extend protections against contamination in Jamaica Bay. Under current law, these environmental safeguards expire on June 30th of 2022.

“Jamaica Bay is a critical natural resource and an environmental jewel that needs to be carefully protected,” said Addabbo. “I am pleased my Senate colleagues have joined with me in passing this legislation to help keep our Bay pristine both today and for all future generations.” The companion bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, has been passed by the Assembly and is awaiting delivery to Governor Cuomo.

The original law authored by Addabbo in 2014 to protect Jamaica Bay barred the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) from approving any plans by the federal Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to place hazardous dredged materials into the estuary’s borrow pits. These are areas of the Bay’s floor where excavations have been made to allow for the passage of larger ships.

“Simply said, we need to remain vigilant to ensure that our beautiful Bay isn’t ever allowed to become a dumping ground for harmful pollutants,” he said.

Addabbo noted that Jamaica Bay is “a tremendous asset” to his Senate district and to the entire nation. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one of the most widely acknowledged and respected bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States.  The Bay itself presents welcome opportunities for local residents and visitors to enjoy fishing, boating, scuba diving and other water-related recreational activities.

The Senator also appreciated the guidance and input of long-time Broad Channel resident and community advocate, Dan Mundy, Jr. “The Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers consider this bill to be one of the most critical pieces of legislation protecting the bay in the last three decades. The constant threat from city, state and federal agencies to use the deep portions of Jamaica Bay as a garbage dump for contaminated sediment has long been one of the biggest threats to the future of the bay. While these threats started to appear decades ago, they have found new supporters as various dredging projects around the city have created a need to get rid of sediment that is often contaminated. In addition, the research that has more recently come to light highlights the amazing role that the deep portions of the bay play in supporting massive amounts of marine life that would cease to exist should they be filled in. We commend Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato for their efforts on this bill and in fighting to protect Jamaica Bay for future generations by making permanent the prohibition on dumping contaminated fill into the waters of this bay,” Mundy stated.

“The delicate ecology of Jamaica Bay, which includes unique salt marshes, demands that we implement permanent protections to guard against any environmental degradation that may result in a loss of wildlife habitat, compromised water quality, or other negative consequences for the area,” Addabbo said. “Both Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato and I are deeply committed to seeing this important legislation signed into law.”