After decades of being literally "dumped" on, the NY-NJ Bight may be finally receiving the protection it rightly deserves. New legislation introduced by two members of Congress would create a Clean Ocean Zone for 19,000 square miles of valuable marine habitat located offshore of New Jersey and New York. The Act, fostered by the conservation organization Clean Ocean Action, would significantly limit future dumping of waste materials into the coastal waters of our region and would also prevent the mining of non-renewable natural resources from the Bight. This would be a great step forward for our coasts and oceans writes the Star-Ledger. JB
Sunday, July 23, 2006
By Claire Heininger
Once notorious for washing syringes, poisoned fish, raw sewage and worse onto New Jersey's beaches, ocean water along the coastline has come a long way since its polluted height in the 1980s. A bill to be introduced in Congress tomorrow aims to keep it that way.
The New Jersey/New York Clean Ocean Zone Act would permanently ban construction of new dumpsites, extracting of national resources, building of new pipelines and other damaging measures within the NY/NJ Bight, a 19,000-square-mile area wedged between the coasts of New Jersey and New York.
Formerly home to eight ocean dumpsites, the Bight remains vulnerable despite decades of temporary clean-up regulations, said U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-6th Dist.), a co-sponsor of the bill.
"After 20, 30 years of success and having the oceans being clean, we don't want to backtrack," Pallone said yesterday at a ceremony in Seaside Park to announce the legislation. "If we're going to have permanent success, we need a permanent solution."
Recent policy shifts away from coastline protection -- particularly the House of Representatives' vote last month to lift a quarter century-old ban on offshore gas and oil drilling -- have increased the urgency to create a clean ocean zone, said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action.
Clean Ocean Action Website
Google Map of the NY-NJ Bight