Queens leaders pass law to protect Jamaica Bay – QNS.com
South Queens lawmakers have once again passed legislation that would further protect Jamaica’s Bay. (QNS photo file)
Two Queens lawmakers applauded passage of their legislation that would protect the crystal-clear waters of Jamaica’s Bay, home to marine life unseen in decades.
MP Stacey Pheffer Amato and State Senator Joseph Addabbo have vowed to run through the measure in both houses of the legislature for the fourth time after Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed the bill three times during previous legislative sessions.
“The priority and the need for this bill are clear. My colleagues in the Assembly see the value of this bill and the importance of protecting our environment, ”said Pheffer Amato. “Both houses passed this bill for three consecutive sessions, only to be vetoed by Governor Cuomo. It is more important than ever to invest in Jamaica Bay and ensure that our standards are at the highest level, and we can never go back.
The legislation would raise the standard of dredged material placed in Jamaica Bay borrow pits, also known as sandboxes. This is an area where materials such as dirt, gravel or sand have been dug up for use in another location.
In his latest veto statement on the bill, Cuomo said the legislation would change the Jamaica Bay borrow pit infill criteria to meet federal criteria for unrestricted ocean dumping of dredged material, which does not not applicable to Jamaica Bay. Under the legislation, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation would be required to use more restrictive and costly federal ocean disposal criteria for testing materials instead of the existing DEC standard.
“In recent years, Jamaica Bay has seen a resurgence of marine life thanks to cleaner, healthier waters. However, our efforts to protect the bay are not over, ”Addabbo said. “Bill S.2205/A.453 seeks to further protect Jamaica’s Bay by strengthening the protection of the bay’s waters with more stringent restrictions on the type of materials allowed to be used to fill borrow pits. We hope this bill will pass so that future generations can enjoy this vital waterway. We hope Governor Cuomo signs this important bill.
Local community advocates, including the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, have praised the bill and the bay’s improvement. Animals such as seals, dolphins and even humpback whales have been sighted off the coast.
“I would like to thank Senator Addabbo for his partnership on this legislation, as well as the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers and many civic leaders and organizations for their advocacy. “