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Riverkeeper’s Biggest Victories of 2014


Eagles on the Hudson River, Verplanck N.Y. (Photo: Tom Rogan)
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Eagles on the Hudson River, Verplanck N.Y. (Photo: Tom Rogan)

Eagles on the Hudson River, Verplanck N.Y. (Photo: Tom Rogan)

We are proud to report on another remarkable year of success restoring the Hudson and protecting your drinking water. We owe so much of it to you, as donors, activists and volunteers. In 2015, we’ll need you more than ever: As the clean water challenges mount, Riverkeeper must rise to meet them.

What a victory!! NY bans fracking
Despite long odds, we fought the frackers with everything we had. We demanded protection from a dangerous drilling practice that threatened our health and water if allowed in NY. And look what happened after six years on the front lines: on Dec. 17, Gov. Cuomo’s administration followed through on a pledge, heeded the research, and banned fracking. This is the best sort of victory – based on science, fostered by grass roots action. The movement at its finest!

Closer Than Ever to Closing Indian Point
2014 was a banner year in our campaign to end the ever-growing threat posed by Indian Point. We concluded hearings on how the plant decimates key Hudson River fish species and returned to federal court to force action on its 2,000 tons of toxic nuclear waste. We proved NY has a reliable energy supply without Indian Point. The plant’s owner is now offering to negotiate an early closure.

Stopping the Growth of Oil Terminals on the Hudson
Riverkeeper is working furiously to defend the river from imminent hazards presented by a new “virtual oil pipeline” along the Hudson. We mounted a massive public campaign and brought a civil action against Global Companies LLC, putting a wrench into company plans to use terminals in Albany and Ulster for transportation of tar sands crude.

DNAsamplenearkingstonWater Quality Sampling Expands, Driving Treatment Plant Improvements
Our water quality sampling program keeps expanding, thanks to an army of citizen scientists and partners, and now covers 223 locations including seven tributaries and the NYC waterfront. The information is helping drive big improvements: In the Capital District, home to the highest failure rates, state officials announced a landmark $136 million plan to reduce sewage pollution.

Rockland Reclaims its Water Future
The people of Rockland and their public officials joined with Riverkeeper, Pace Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic and Scenic Hudson to defeat a wrongheaded and wasteful plan to desalinate Hudson water to feed sprawl in Rockland County. Instead, Rocklanders are creating a new water plan, based on conservation and smarter deployment of existing water resources.

Clean Water Funds Rescued From Albany’s Raid
When the Thruway Authority tried to raid clean water funds for a bridge project, we, Environmental Advocates of NY and NRDC led a coalition in crying foul. Editorial boards, EPA and state watchdogs helped expose this “pilfering” for what it was. We’ll be in court to protect the funds for their intended goals: healthier waterways and better infrastructure.

Big Progress on Cleanup of State’s Worst Oil Spill
Riverkeeper fought hard for cleanup of the massive, decades-old ExxonMobil oil spill that oozes from underneath Greenpoint, Brooklyn, into Newtown Creek – and it’s paying off. Remediation of the spill – New York’s largest ever – is advancing and the agreement we fought for will put millions toward local wildlife restoration and greening projects in 2015.

Fighting Clean Water Act Violations Up and Down the Hudson
As watchdogs on the Tappan Zee Bridge project, we broke the story of illegal construction at an upriver staging area in Coeymans, near key sturgeon habitat. The state then fined the builders and ordered restoration. We sued over a dozen polluters along NYC’s Newtown Creek and Gowanus Canal, gaining settlements with eight businesses now committed to preventing stormwater violations along the banks of these waterways. This is why we fight – and why we can’t let up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Bigger Sweep, a Cleaner Shore
Our third annual Riverkeeper Sweep drew 1,900 volunteers to 82 shoreline cleanups and plantings from NYC to Albany – huge increases from 2013. Best of all: trash levels are declining, year by year. Sustained local efforts are making the river cleaner!

Limits on Storage Capacity for Explosive Liquefied Natural Gas
Riverkeeper and the NY Public Interest Research Group called on the state to limit the size of any proposed storage facilities for highly explosive liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Department of Environmental Conservation had not proposed a limit, despite the potential for more serious accidents at larger facilities. The DEC capitulated, setting a 70,000-gallon cap.

Hope in Hastings: Cleanup Plans Finalized
One of Riverkeeper’s oldest campaigns, to rid the Hastings waterfront of toxic contamination, culminated in a cleanup agreement between NY State and the Atlantic Richfield Company, formerly Anaconda Wire & Cable. Our legal efforts broadened the cleanup to offshore areas contaminated by PCBs.

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