History of the COZ

After a Legacy of Pollution…

Not so long ago, with eight ocean dumpsites, the Bight was the “Ocean Dumping Capital of the World.” These dumpsites include those for dredged material, cellar dirt, sewage sludge, acid wastes, wood incineration, and industrial wastes. The Bight shows the results of this legacy of pollution: fish advisories from contaminated sediments, beach closures from runoff, storm drains, and raw sewage discharge, and littered beaches.

…it’s Time to Lock-in the Progress.

Laws and regulations are insufficient to protect the vast value of this ocean region and its living marine resources from polluting and habitat-destructive activities, such as ocean dumping of contaminated sediments, permanent extraction of offshore sand by industrial strip-miners, and offshore gas and oil exploration to name a few. These destructive activities undermine the economic potentialities for the sustainable living marine resources and must be prohibited.

Elected officials must strive harder to protect the ocean. The current battles are fought permit by permit, which is time-consuming, unproductive, and exhausting. It is time to lock-in the tremendous path of progress which has led to far-reaching improvements in our ocean water quality and lock-out environmentally harmful activities, thereby ensuring the continued protection of the ocean today and for future generations.

Protecting Unique Ecosystems. 

The waters of the United States are ecologically and economically significant. Consequently, regional waterbodies should be afforded special protections.

As the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy states “[t]here is a growing awareness that regional approaches can benefit each of the nation’s ocean and coastal regions. Focusing efforts within whole ecosystems, rather than arbitrary political boundaries, provides an opportunity for decision makers at all levels to coordinate their activities, reduce duplication of efforts, minimize conflicts, and maximize limited resources.  It also promotes a sense of stewardship among government, private interests, and the public by encouraging a shared feeling of connection to a specific area.” 

The USCOP highlights several regional approaches, including the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Delaware River Basin Commission, the California Bay-Delta Authority, the Gulf of Mexico Program, and the Great Lakes Program, each of which have “taken different approaches to address pressing regional issues, although a hallmark of most efforts is the establishment of measurable goals and clear implementation strategies for achieving healthier regional ecosystems.”

Built by the people, for the ocean: the COZ.

Current laws and regulations are insufficient to protect the vast ecological value of this ocean region and its living marine resources from polluting and habitat-destructive activities, such as ocean dumping of contaminated sediments, permanent extraction of offshore sand, and offshore gas and oil exploration, to name a few. 

Infrequently successful, the public have for years been fighting proposals for harmful pollution and energy activities in the NY/NJ Bight.  Time after time, industry interests have overcome public health and economic concerns.  These regularly-approved destructive activities undermine the ecological and economic potentialities for sustainable marine resources and must be prohibited. 

The current battles between sound environmental protection and economically driven use are fought permit by permit – a time-consuming, unproductive, and unsustainable process.  Now is the time to lock-in the tremendous path of progress, which has led to far-reaching improvements in our ocean water quality, and lock-out environmentally harmful activities, thereby ensuring the continued protection of the ocean today and for future generations.

For over a decade, Clean Ocean Action has been working with an alliance of over 50 environmental, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, religious, community, advocacy, business, scuba diving, surfing, and civic groups from New York and New Jersey to develop and promote a holistic approach to protecting the Bight from pollution by creating a zone in the ocean where harmful pollution and fossil fuel activities are prohibited.  

This “Clean Ocean Zone” was designed to keep dumpsites, pollution, and industrialization out of the NY/NJ Bight so that the users of that clean ocean economy could thrive – now and into the future.

In the years since its inception, the “COZ” (pronounced “cause”) has brought together thousands and thousands of citizens, and hundreds of organizations, towns, and businesses in a community-wide fight for a clean ocean and the protection of the economies based thereon.