""About Lou" (Ida Sanoff, February 2004)For those of you unfamiliar with the history of NRPA, this is a sketch of our founder, the late Lou Figurelli.
In the book, "Muddy Water - The Toxic Wasteland Below America's Oceans, Coasts, Rivers and Lakes" by Beth Millemann, there is a section titled "The Power of One to Save the Bay". It details the history of the CAC (Consolidated Amboy Aggregate) pit in the Lower Bay. It describes how in the late 1970's the ACOE proclaimed the pit "a dead zone" devoid of marine life which they planned to use as a disposal site for toxic dredge. Although thousands of fish had been seen and caught there, the ACOE called this information "anecdotal". (Does this sound familiar?)
Here is what the book says about Lou and his battle:
"The vicious battle that ensued was waged primarily by one man, Captain Lou Figurelli, a dedicated fisherman, diver, animal rescuer and a self proclaimed 'character'. Lou fought the Corps singlehandedly for decades. He lived in a seen-better-days houseboat in Lemon Creek, Staten Island, along with his many furry and feathered friends. He was armed with a typewriter, a phone, a photocopier and a steel-trap memory. He was gruff and tenacious. His salt and pepper hair was topped by his captain's hat at all times. Lou had a severe limp, having battled polio as a child and a voice with a rich colloquial vocabulary that had one volume - booming. He was the Corps' worst nightmare."
The book then details Lou's battles against the EIS and NRPA's subsequent legal claims. The book notes that at a meeting, "...a Corps representative remarked, 'we are ready to go with the pit, we are just waiting for Lou to die'".
Three months after Lou died in 1994, the Public Notice for the first planned disposal of toxic mud in the pit came out. But by then, NRPA was going strong. The pit was never filled.
It's 25 years later and we're still here fighting the fight that Lou began. And we ain't gonna stop now.
WHO ARE WE? Established in 1977 by legendary bayman Lou Figurelli, The NRPA is a consortium of conservation groups, yacht clubs, sportsmen clubs, environmental groups and concerned citizens dedicated to the protection of the marine environment of Raritan Bay, and Lower New York Harbor. The NRPA in close association with the NY/NJ Baykeeper of Highlands NJ, Save The Bay of Keansburg NJ, Clean Ocean Action, and Coastal Conservation Association/New York have worked on protecting the New York Bight ecosystem. The NRPA has kept constant vigilance on the proposed Dredged Material Management Plan of the Army Corps of Engineers to construct large toxic "containment islands" and fill "Borrow Pits" with toxic dredge spoils from the dredging of Newark Bay, home of the worst corporate polluters in the history of our nation. We have battled for years against the dumping of toxic chemicals by large chemical corporations into the bay. The NRPA has fought against mechanical dredging for clams and oysters. And has worked for beach replenishment, jetties, fishing piers, public access, to stop pollution ,and a host of other environmental concerns effecting Lower New York Harbor, Raritan Bay, and the New York Bight. We have won every Court battle that we have entered into in the defense of the natural resources of Raritan Bay and New York in general. To continue the battle We need the support of concerned citizens and organizations to continue our fight to save the Bight. To make a tax-deductible contribution you can send it to the address listed above. Or for more in formation, e-mail the Natural Resources Protective Association. AFFILIATIONS Clean Air Campaign, Midland Beach Civic Association, Coalition Against Water Disposal, Crescent Beach Civic Assoc., Citizens of Ocean Breeze, Richmondtown/Clarke Ave. Civic Assoc., Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Baykeeper of New York/New Jersey, Conference House Park/Raritan Bay Conservancy, Mariners Marsh Conservancy, New Dorp Beach Civic Assoc., Princes Bay Boatmen's Assoc., Lemon Creek Boatmen's Assoc., Staten Island Baymens Assoc., S.I. Citizens for Clean Air, F.A.T.E., Global Action/Tottenville High School, Friends of Blue Heron Pond, Friends of North Shore Greenbelt, Friends of Gateway/N.O.S.C., Mariners Harbor Civic Assoc., Arlington Civic Assoc., Clean Ocean Action, , N.Y. Harbor Lights, Lighthouse Research for Preservation, Great Kills Harbor Preservation Committee, Coalition for Safe Boating/Marine Environment, S.I. Friends of Clearwater, S.I. Environmental Coalition, S.I. Taxpayers Assoc., Save The Bay, Beachcomber Surf & Gun Club, S.I. Explorers Club, S.I. Sport Divers, American Littoral Society, S.I. Tuna Club, Richmond County Yacht Club, Great Kills Yacht Club, S.I. Yacht Club, Staten Island Register, The Waterfront Watch, International Order of the Blue Gavel, Coastal Conservation Association, North Shore Waterfront Conservacy, South Beach Pond Park Preserve,