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House Passes Jam. Bay Tribute to Former Sen.

Buckley Helped Create Gateway Rec Area

Rep. Bob Turner’s bill to rename the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in honor of the late New York Sen. James L. Buckley, was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, July 23.

“I am thrilled that my colleagues in the House have joined me in honoring a true American public servant. Senator Buckley has served at the highest levels in all three branches of government, as well as in the Navy during World War II. This is a fitting tribute to a man who worked tirelessly on behalf of New York and the United States,” Turner said.

Buckley played a role in the creation of the Gateway National Recreation Area-a more than 26,000 acre area spanning three boroughs and stretching all the way to Sandy Hook, N.J.-which houses the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and its visitor center that will be named in his honor.

“Along with fellow New York Sen. Jacob Javits, Senator Buckley had the vision to create a national wildlife refuge in an urban area accessible to the millions of people in New York City as well as the millions of other residents of the New York metropolitan area. Now, 40 years later, that vision has turned into the gold standard for urban park space with more than eight million annual visitors,” the congressman said.

Turner noted the incredible environmental and educational benefits the park provides in New York and New Jersey.

“More than 325 species of birds stop over at Gateway as part of the Atlantic flyaway which stretches from the north of Canada to the Caribbean,” Turner said. “With the increasing development of urban space, these refuges provide a safe haven for these birds along their migratory path. On top of that, Gateway offers a unique piece of history for its visitors ranging from the historic aircraft at Hangar B at Floyd Bennett Field to America’s oldest lighthouse established in 1767 in Sandy Hook, N.J.”

Turner also noted that Buckley’s environmental record was not just relegated to New York. Rather, he was a leading national voice for environmental protection and preservation.

“Buckley has a strong environmental record. He co-sponsored the 1972 Clean Water Act, the seminal law governing water pollution and contamination. He also co-sponsored the Grand Canyon National Park Enlargement Act,” Turner added. “James L. Buckley served to protect his state, his country, and the environment. This is a fitting tribute to a man who spent most of his life sharing his intellect and his talent in an effort to serve others.”

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