The Ossining-based Riverkeeper watchdog organization announces they’ve put the Tappan Zee Constructors, the Thruway Authority, and one of their contractors, on notice for alleged environmental violations in the rebuild operations for the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Riverkeeper on Sept. 25 filed a Notice of Intent to Sue with the state over two main points:
The dredging operations, which are lifting large buckets of sediment and water above the river, are pausing and allegedly “releasing large volumes of turbid water and sediment” rather than slowly “decanting” in a more continual fashion, a press release from Riverkeeper states.
Secondly, Riverkeeper says the sturgeon monitoring that was supposed to be complete before dredging began in August was not completed.
One concerned citizen has been keeping track of how many sturgeon, a species on the verge of extinction, have been found washing ashore dead in the lower Hudson Valley since these operations kicked in.
“In the more than thirty years I've lived by the Tappan Zee before bridge construction began, I've found a total of three dead sturgeon,” Daniel Wolff said. “In the past five months, there have been five dead fish.”
Riverkeeper said they alerted the bridge builders three times in August and September of these issues, and they admit they’ve seen a notable improvement in the dredging water-dump since. They say they have not, on the other hand, seen progress on the sturgeon monitoring front.
“Riverkeeper assured the public that we would watchdog this project, and that’s exactly what we’re doing by filing this notice with the state,” said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper. “We have seen improvement in the dredging operations and we’re hopeful that this will continue, but in the end it is unacceptable that dredging protocols required by the permit were not strictly followed. We also remain very concerned about the state’s failure to have the sturgeon monitoring up and running before dredging began. We are committed to working with the state to resolve these issues as soon as possible – the Hudson River merits the highest degree of environmental protection we can give it.”