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Pallone Concerned About Impact of NYC Trash Barge Proposal on Floatables Action Plan

October 15, 2004
Press Release

Long Branch, N.J. --- U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that a new New York City solid waste management proposal to transport trash on barges will not have any adverse impact on the Floatables Action Plan.

In a letter to Army Corps Colonel Richard Polo, Jr. and EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny, the New Jersey congressman expressed concern that the proposal could undermine the Floatables Action Plan, the joint state and federal program that monitors and picks up any trash in the New York Harbor and asked that the two agencies evaluate whether changes need to be made in the current plan.

"In previous years, solid waste on open barges was often blown overboard by strong winds, ending up in the ocean and eventually on our shores," Pallone wrote in the letter to the EPA and Army Corps. "Without proper safeguards, New York's new plan may result in more trash on New Jersey beaches, harming the environment and the tourism industry and undermining the Floatables Action Plan. I hope you will closely review New York City's plan, evaluate its impacts on the Floatables Action Plan, and take necessary steps to keep New Jersey's shoreline clean."

Earlier this year, the New Jersey congressman was instrumental in getting the agencies to address lapses in the Floatables Action Plan after trash washed up on Monmouth County beaches over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Both the EPA and Army Corps took specific corrective actions, vowing to monitor the harbor everyday, improve communication between the agencies and enlist the help of the Coast Guard. No further floatables incidents occurred through the remainder of the summer beach season. In 1989, the Army Corps and the EPA Region 2 designed the plan to remove garbage from the New York/New Jersey Harbor to prevent beach closures, adverse impacts on coastal species and commercial and recreation boating.

In another letter, Pallone asked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to take all necessary steps to properly secure waste on the barges.

"New Jersey's proximity to New York City means that your solid waste policies have often had a direct impact on our state," Pallone wrote in the letter to Mayor Bloomberg. "I ask that you consider the value of New Jersey's beaches and shoreline, which residents from throughout the mid-Atlantic enjoy, and take necessary steps to ensure that any waste moved by barge is properly secured in containers so it does not blow overboard. I also ask that you ensure that trash handled at marine transfer stations does not end up in the water."