Today, the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper declared its support for the City of Hoboken in its effort to transform Union Dry Dock into a public park, as opposed to a heavy refueling station favored by New York Waterway. NY/NJ Baykeeper, one of the most well respected environmental non-profit organizations in the region, cited “appropriate alternative sites available” for the ferry maintenance operations as a deciding factor in supporting the City’s acquisition of Union Dry Dock for public, open space.
“NY/NJ Baykeeper has long been a champion of public access to our urban waterfronts, and that is the reason we support Hoboken's longstanding plan to create unfettered public access along the length of its popular waterfront,” said Baykeeper and CEO, Greg Remaud. “In fact, NY/NJ Baykeeper and Hackensack Riverkeeper successfully sued the State of New Jersey for not upholding the public's right to access tidally flowed land along our urban waterfronts and beaches. Our legal victory along with the public trust expertise and leadership of the American Littoral Society, and community groups throughout the length of Jersey Coast led to the passage of new public trust legislation in New Jersey that was signed into law by Governor Murphy in May.
Maintaining areas along our region's increasingly privatized shorelines as ‘working waterfronts’ for marine activities is also essential, and so is supporting ferry service. So, this position did not come lightly. However, we believe the specifics of this particular case - with the size of the operation and ferry activity significantly increasing, and what seem to be more appropriate alternative sites available for these larger ferry operations - that Hoboken’s longstanding plans for continuous public access along this stretch waterfront should take precedence.”
“I thank the NY/NJ Baykeeper for recognizing the vital importance of connecting Hoboken’s waterfront,” said Mayor Bhalla. “We should never compromise the health and safety of our communities, and a heavy refueling depot would ruin any chance we have of a public at Union Dry Dock, while ravaging our environment for years to come. I look forward to our continued efforts with NY/NJ Baykeeper and the numerous environmental organizations that have joined Hoboken in this critical fight to save our waterfront.”
NY/NJ Baykeeper joins several environmental organizations, including Friends of Liberty State Park and Sam Pesin, for issuing statements in support of Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla and the City’s position over Union Dry Dock.
Earlier this week, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla cited a discussion with one of the leading ferry operators in the tristate region, who expressed interest in servicing Hoboken with ferries should New York Waterway fulfill their continued threat to end ferry service without access to Union Dry Dock.
Mayor Bhalla has asked the Hoboken City Council to authorize eminent domain as a negotiating tool to acquire Union Dry Dock for a public park. The second and final reading for the eminent domain ordinance will be on the agenda at the regularly scheduled Council meeting on Wednesday, September 4 at 7:00 pm at City Hall (94 Washington Street).
About NY/NJ Baykeeper
The mission of NY/NJ Baykeeper is to protect, preserve and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. Founded with the help of Hudson Riverkeeper and the American Littoral Society in 1989, NY/NJ Baykeeper is a wholly independent nonprofit with its own 501c3.
Through its Estuary-wide programs it seeks to end pollution, improve public access, conserve and restore public lands, restore aquatic habitats, encourage appropriate and discourage inappropriate development, carry out public education, and work with federal and NY/NJ state regulators and citizen groups as partners in planning for a sustainable future for the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary watershed.
NY/NJ Baykeeper fights to protect the health of local waterways through advocacy campaigns, legal actions and boat programs. It shapes and enforces water quality, land use, and coastal policies that impact the estuary and actively patrol the waterways to identify and stop polluters. Through land acquisition and stewardship, NY/NJ Baykeeper’s conservation program has helped preserve more than 3,000 thousand acres of open space in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary.
NY/NJ Baykeeper’s restoration work focuses on repopulating the New York and New Jersey bays with oysters and creating sustainable habitat in order to monitor and improve the health of the estuary’s eco-system.