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Queens Chronicle

Cuomo veto harms Jamaica Bay

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2020 10:30 am

One of Gov. Cuomo’s favorite political tricks is to slip things through when or where no one’s looking, whether it’s taking a historical name off a bridge so he could put his father’s name on it instead, making major policy changes in a budget plan instead of individual bills, or thwarting the restoration of Jamaica Bay by allowing toxic fill to be dumped into it.

He made the latter move the Friday before Chanukah and Christmas, when he vetoed a bill that would have blocked the state from continuing to deposit dirt dredged up from the Hudson River bottom into the bay. Most people were otherwise occupied and missed this, but not South Queens state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, who introduced the bill.

The last thing Jamaica Bay needs is toxic soil from the Hudson River to be deposited there. That kind of negates the hard work lawmakers and private groups have been doing for years to clean up the all-important estuary, whose health is vital for everything from the area’s economy to its ability to better withstand storm surges.

The state needs to dump soil from somewhere into the bay to fill in holes left over when sand and stone were dug out for construction purposes. It says making sure the soil is clean would be too expensive. No doubt better fill is more costly, but this is a case of getting what you pay for. It’s worth spending more to make sure the bay’s environmental progress is not reversed.

Cuomo should come out of the dark corners of politics he so often inhabits, see the light and sign this bill next time.

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