December 13, 2018

County Executive DeGise, Senators Stack and Sacco, Mayors Bhalla and Fulop urge Governor to protect Hoboken's waterfront

Today, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Senator Brian Stack, Senator Nick Sacco, and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop joined Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a letter to Governor Phil Murphy, urging his office to oppose the relocation of a ferry refueling depot at Union Dry Dock on Hoboken’s waterfront.

The content of the letter is below:

December 13, 2018

Dear Governor Murphy,

We write to you to express our emphatic support for Mayor Ravi Bhalla and the City of Hoboken’s efforts to prevent a heavy refueling diesel depot at the Union Dry Dock property.  As elected officials in Hudson County, we urge you to consider the detrimental environmental impact this will have for the residents of Hoboken and the surrounding region.

Over the past year, we have been fully supportive of your initiatives to make New Jersey a leader in promoting progressive environmental policies. In particular, we have greatly appreciated your efforts at moving New Jersey to 100% clean energy by 2050, fiercely protecting our coastal communities from offshore drilling, and combating the effects of rising sea levels and global warming. With President Trump dismantling environmental agreements that will have devastating long-term consequences for our country, as elected officials we must do everything possible to continue sound policies that combat federal inaction on this critical issue. Nowhere is this more important than in coastal communities like Hoboken, that are on the front lines of combating the effects of climate change and other challenges posed by the Hudson River.  

That’s why we are extremely concerned about the detrimental environmental impact of a heavy refueling ferry depot proposed by New York Waterway on Hoboken’s waterfront.  Just last January, New York Waterway spilled over 300 gallons of diesel fuel at its refueling site, exposing the Hudson River to even more toxins and pollution.  Hoboken Cove, adjacent to the Union Dry Dock property, is home to a number of recreational opportunities along the Hudson River, including paddleboarding, kayaking and other water activities that are enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors each week.  A refueling station at Union Dry Dock would substantially threaten these activities and puts the safety and well-being of all participants at serious risk.  Finally, we understand hundreds of children attend school, play on the
local playgrounds, and physically live in close proximity to the Union Dry Dock site.  Needless to say, children and families should not be forced to breathe in toxic fumes from a diesel depot.  Finally, we are very concerned about the impact of toxic fumes and air pollution that will inevitably impact the local habitat and marine ecosystem.  

We understand that no less than two (2) reports have been commissioned to study this issue, one by New Jersey Transit itself in 2009, and another by a professional engineering firm on behalf of the City of Hoboken.   Both studies reached the same conclusion: the most appropriate site for this intended use is the Hoboken Lackawanna Terminal in southern Hoboken.  Furthermore, these studies concluded that no less than three additional alternative locations that are more suited for a refueling station than Union Dry Dock.  Mayor Bhalla is fully receptive to considering Hoboken Terminal as an alternate location, and we support this position.  Given Hoboken Terminal’s existing use as a ferry station and separation from residential homes and the reduced environmental impacts it would have on the waterfront, along with NJ Transit’s own conclusion in 2009 that Hoboken Terminal was the ideal location for a refueling station, we urge you to give this location stronger consideration.  

As elected officials, we are fully committed to your agenda for a more environmentally friendly New Jersey.  Our state has been desperate for your leadership in promoting policies that benefit the residents of our County and State, as opposed to catering to special interest groups that was a common occurrence before you took office.  As our leader, we enthusiastically support your agenda for a greener New Jersey, and we are both hopeful and confident that you will concur with the conclusions of experts that have studied this matter, and concluded that the Hoboken Terminal is the most appropriate location for New York Waterways refueling, repair and maintenance operations.

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to a continued strong partnership for our County and State in the years to come.


County Executive Tom DeGise
Senator Brian Stack
Senator Nick Sacco
Mayor Ravi Bhalla
Mayor Steve Fulop

For a copy of the letter submitted to Governor Murphy, please click here