1980’S

1980

Under the Hudson River Settlement, Con Edison agrees to abandon plans to build its hydroelectric facility on Storm King Mountain and donates the land for a park. Con Ed is ordered to install devices to prevent entrainment of fish on its intake screens at Indian Point. In exchange, Con Ed is temporarily excused from building closed cycle cooling towers at its three power plants (Indian Point, Bowline and Roseton) which would reduce fish kills.

1981

HRFA joins the suit against Westway, a $2 billion project that proposes to construct a highway on pilings in the Hudson River to replace the old West Side Highway. The projected construction would kill 64% of the striped bass habitat in the process. Esteemed bio-statistician Dr. Ian Fletcher is brought in to explain the fish data which has been deliberately misinterpreted.

1983

John Cronin, activist and former commercial fisherman, becomes the first full-time Riverkeeper. HRFA creates the Riverkeeper organization based on Cronin’s work.

1984

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. becomes Riverkeeper’s Chief Prosecuting Attorney.

HRFA notifies its intent to sue Exxon which is discharging polluted salt water ballast from its tankers into the Hudson, refilling its tanks with fresh water, bringing it back to Aruba to sell as drinking water, and being paid by the Aruba government. A settlement negotiated with HRFA, New York State and the U.S. Attorney orders Exxon to pay $1.5 million to New York State to establish the Hudson River Improvement Fund, and $500,000 to HRFA. Half the money is used to fund the Riverkeeper program.

1985

Kennedy and HRFA bring charges against 16 major polluters of Quassaic Creek, which empties into the Hudson River near Newburgh. All the cases settle, netting Riverkeeper $200,000 which goes towards a Quassaic Creek Fund.

DEC modifies its commercial fishing ban below Troy, but fishing of carp, white perch, striped bass, and American eel is still prohibited.

1986

HRFA and Riverkeeper merge under the Riverkeeper name.

1987

The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic is created under the direction of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., allowing third year-law students to practice law under Riverkeeper’s supervising attorneys.

Riverkeeper files a Clean Water Act’s citizens’ suit against Westchester County for violating a 1972 federal court order to phase out the Croton Landfill which has been leaching toxins into the Hudson River. The county settles, agrees to shut down the landfill and remediate the leachate, and restore the Croton Marsh.

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