As the 2020 session in Albany picked back up, New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato were able to once again pass bill S.7295/A.9595 through the Senate and Assembly, looking to further protect the waters of Jamaica Bay, after Governor Cuomo vetoed a similar bill last year.
These Jamaica Bay bills would permanently extend the current law that was put into place in 2014, which corrected the longstanding problem of using sub-quality dredging material to fill in the borrow pits of Jamaica Bay. That law is set to expire on June 30, 2022. The bill also seeks to improve the standards evaluating the condition of the bay.
“I know the current and future conditions of Jamaica Bay are important issues for many of my constituents. The bay has seen a resurgence in marine life since laws were enacted to protect the waters from unfit dredging materials and other contaminants, and is healthier than it has been in decades,” Addabbo said. “The delicate and unique ecology of the Bay demands that we implement permanent protections to safeguard against any actions that may result in a loss of wildlife, compromised water quality, or other negative consequences.”
“Jamaica Bay has been a successful result of what happens when government and community come together to protect our environment,” Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato said. “We have made so much progress bringing wildlife and an ecological system to this Bay that hasn’t been seen in generations, and we have to ensure that we keep this progress going. Senator Addabbo and I are ready to keep working with the Governor’s office to get it done, and the passage of this bill is a great first step.”
“The Jamaica Bay Ecowatcher's fully support this bill and the protections that it will afford Jamaica bay. There is no legitimate reason to ever bring in contaminated fill and place it in the deep portions of the bay,” said Dan Mundy, Jr., of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. “In addition, recent research that we have been conducting indicates how critical these deep holes in Jamaica Bay are to the marine life that inhabits and visits this bay. Seals, sharks and even whales have been seen in the bay. An event which was unheard of only ten years ago. The waters of the bay are the cleanest they have been in over 100 years and it is unconscionable to consider any plan that includes contaminated fill. We are grateful to have such proactive legislators as Senator Addabbo and Assemblywoman Amato to fight for legislation to protect this great natural resource.”
“It would be terrible to see all the hard work done by the community activists, like the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, be reversed if we allow this bill to expire,” Addabbo added. “We hope to be able to continue working with the Governor’s administration on this issue and to see him sign the legislation into law and permanently protect Jamaica Bay.”
The bill will be sent to Governor Cuomo’s office to either sign into law or veto once again.