More Protection for Jamaica Bay

New Bill Prohibits Hazmat Dumping Permits

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder announced that Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed their legislation to prevent state regulatory agencies from issuing permits to allow dumping hazardous materials into Jamaica Bay’s borrow pits, ultimately limiting the risk of water contamination.

“Communities surrounding Jamaica Bay can now breathe a little easier with the passing of this bill, both figuratively and literally. In the Legislature, we fought for this because our backyards and the beautiful bay waters are not a dumping ground for hazardous waste. Life in the water, on the water and around the water must be preserved,” said Addabbo. “In the district, we were all fortunate enough to grow up with Jamaica Bay and I hope this legislation will ensure future generations can enjoy the serenity and beauty for years to come.”

“This legislation is a huge victory for our families in Broad Channel and every community surrounding Jamaica Bay,” added Goldfeder. “This law will not only protect the waters of Jamaica Bay from hazardous dumping, but also ensures that thousands of endangered bird species and wildlife remain safe. Jamaica Bay is not only an environmental resource but has become an economic engine in southern Queens.”

Prior to the elected official’s legislation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not have any guidelines for state waters, including Jamaica Bay.

This new law (A.2074A/S.3392A) will prohibit DEC from issuing permits that would allow hazardous materials from being dumped into the borrow pits of Jamaica Bay and contaminating the surrounding waters. Borrow pits include a number of locations throughout the bay that have an increased depth as a result of past Army Corps of Engineers dredging projects that have removed sand from the bay floor to fill in adjacent areas.

“Assemblyman Goldfeder and Senator Addabbo’s legislation will close a legislative loophole that has threatened Jamaica Bay for over 30 years,” said Dan Mundy Jr. of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. “The current regulation that allows contaminated fill to be placed in the waters of the bay has attracted numerous ill-conceived plans that are possibly driven by huge potential financial benefits to a few, while potentially destroying the bay forever. This legislation will end these plans and the threats they pose for good.”