2003-01-25 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks and Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By this time some readers of The Wave should have picked up on the federal government’s environmental programs such as NYNJ Harbor Estuary Program (acronym HEP) or its Management Committee (MC abbreviated).

Altogether it’s called MC-HEP-NYNJ, because it’s a bi-state program and the governors of both states have to sign for its approval. There is also some connection between that program and Connecticut as well as the Long Island Sound Program, due to the East River flow between the Sound and the New York Harbor.

So what is a "DMMIWG" (pronounced DIMWIG)? Why, it’s your big old Dredged Materials Management Integration Work Group. It has been chaired by Jim Tripp of Environmental Defense and lately has a co-chair, Tom Wakeman of the Port Authority of NYNJ. Its agenda conforms with its title but also covers issues like restoration programs of natural areas in the harbor area but also diverse issues like rail and truck to barge transport of goods (a Port Authority concern). Since the Port Authority is a major stakeholder in what goes on in the Harbor, is involved with Port expansion plans and has committed a significant share of a projected 60 million dollars to keep the Port program "green," when this column has indicated the disposal of dredge spoils into Jamaica Bay (e.g. pilot programs for "restoration of Norton Basin and little Bay") it is Port Authority needs that are served. Channels have to be deepened for big ships and competitive economics. Jamaica Bay, including Grassy Bay, is an easy target because of indifference and ignorance. The clean sand caps promised in disposal plans for toxic dredge spoils from channel deepening operations are not impervious to toxic chemical exchange so why should it be let to happen?


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