2008-08-22 / Top Stories

Congressman Weiner Funds Hazardous Boat Removal

By Nicholas Briano

Congressman Anthony Weiner announced, last week, a federal initiative that will assist in removing abandoned boats from Jamaica Bay.
The lack of strict penalties in years past has contributed to the increase of hazardous and abandoned boats floating around Jamaica Bay, the number now standing at m ore than 200.

Congressman Anthony Weiner announced last week that he will provide federal aid to assist the effort that stretches across city, state and federal jurisdictions, to remove the estimated 200 abandoned boats harboring across the bay. In addition, he is calling for harsher financial penalties in hopes of deterring future abandonment in the bay.

Weiner says that the boats are spilling fuel, battery acid, and other damaging chemicals into the waters of Jamaica Bay.

Weiner was joined with officials from the National Park Service, the Department of Sanitation, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to support "Operation Clean Bay."

The initiative will tow the abandoned boats onto shore where they will be crushed and discarded by the Department of Sanitation. The program was set in motion by the National Park Service three months ago and, according to the agency, they have already removed 48 boats. Once a boat is towed to shore, DEC works to identify boat owners and issue the appropriate fines, which currently stand at a maximum of $37,500 per boat.

Weiner talks with National Park Service General Superintendent for Gateway National Recreation Area, Barry Sullivan, about the Jamaica Bay boat removal effort.
"Jamaica Bay ought to be a place of refuge for residents, not a junkyard for abandoned boats. Pulling these boat wrecks out of the bay is a giant step toward keeping our waterways clean," Weiner said.
Pictured is one of the 48 boats already towed to shore and ready for proper disposal.
Towing officials haul in one of the smaller boats abandoned in the bay.

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