Cuomo Dumps on Jamaica Bay

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As expected, Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to dump on Jamaica Bay. On Friday, December 20, Cuomo decided to veto a bill that would protect parts of Jamaica Bay from being used as a dumping ground for potentially contaminated fill. Cuomo’s decision came after both the Assembly and Senate passed the bill unanimously. However, the fight isn’t over.

“We will immediately work with Senator Addabbo and Assemblywoman Amato to re-introduce legislation and start a campaign to ensure he hears from residents around the bay that he needs to step up and protect Jamaica Bay!” Dan Mundy of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers said after Cuomo’s decision.

Despite the Assembly and Senate passing the bill unanimously, word spread after the bill came to Cuomo’s desk on December 10, that he was thinking of vetoing it, which came as a surprise. “We thought this was a bunt,” Mundy said.

Mundy believes it was the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation dredge management team that urged Cuomo to consider vetoing Assembly Bill A5767A. “This is supposed to be the DEC and the protectors of our environment that would be the catalyst behind this veto,” Mundy said. "This is due to their desire to bring contaminated dredge fill from the Hudson River into the bay and dump it into the deeper portions of the bay that they have conveniently named ‘borrow pits.”  The sections of the bay that would be used include Little Bay and Norton Bay near Edgemere. According to Mundy, these deep areas have led to the addition of more wildlife and active fishing areas. “We never want to see this happen,” Mundy said of the potential dumping that will occur if permanent protections are not put in place.

Currently, there are protections put in place to prevent this kind of dumping, but they are limited and are set to expire soon. The new bill, that Cuomo vetoed, would have made for more permanent protections. With the current protections expiring, there is urgency to put safeguards in place. According to Mundy, despite this veto, the fight will continue.

Mundy says that not only will the bill be re-introduced, but the Ecowatchers will begin circulating an online petition in the New Year to show Cuomo the support behind the measure.

The news of Cuomo’s veto may come as a surprise to some, as Cuomo has stood up against many potential environmental threats, such as the proposed Williams pipeline, offshore drilling and and fracking, and he has put forth a plan to require that 70% of electricity consumed in the state will come from renewable energy by 2030. His contradictory action against Jamaica Bay has not gone unnoticed. “He’s done a number of things for the environment, so this is confusing,” Mundy said.

 

The public is welcome to chime in on Cuomo’s decision. His office can be reached by calling 518-474-8390 or online at governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

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