State officials last week approved New York’s most comprehensive environmental protection plan to protect thousands of acres of the Hudson River shoreline from shipping.
The Environmental Protection Agency approved the Hudson River Maritime Protection Plan in the midst of a two-year fight by environmental groups over the designation of the polluted Sandy Hook Ditch canal as a natural river.
According to the New York Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the decision last week, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, flanked by a panel of six environmental leaders from the state and local governments, touted the program.
The program aims to cap sediment runoff of petrochemical effluent along a 40-mile stretch of the river and delay building a tunnel under the river to carry it to Manhattan.
The DEC’s decision will allow $14 million a year in annual conservation funding to be used to keep sediment waters far cleaner.
The development follows pleas by environmentalists and some Democratic state lawmakers who argued that the river’s watershed needed being protected against future development on land the state has spent billions of dollars for.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed to dedicate 30 miles of the Delaware Gateway to flood protection in an effort to protect the Schoharie River.
At a meeting of the Hudson River Conservation Alliance last year, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and Upper West Side Democratic lawmakers came close to killing the project but were overruled by the political left.