The “New York Rail Cars for New York Waters Coalition” membership consists of 25 New York organizations representing over 600 New York businesses and 800,000 New York boaters, divers and fishermen. We are writing to request your support for the placement of obsolete stainless steel Long Island Railroad cars on approved reef sites in New York Waters (see attachment A). The recycling of these railroad cars into artificial reefs will greatly enhance our marine environment by creating new habitat for marine life and pump millions of dollars into the local economy, while meeting all health and safety standards.

Improving our marine environment 

Artificial reefs are extremely prolific and they provide surface habitat for marine life, bacteria, and other micro-algae. Artificial reefs create habitat for several species of fish, crustaceans, mollusks and other marine life. Artificial reefs protect juvenile fish from predation increasing the biomass and increase the food supply for fisheries. New York marine coastal waters have mainly flat sandy bottoms that provide little if any natural habitat for marine life. New York State has a very successful artificial reef program that has greatly enhanced the health and abundance of our marine fisheries. The recycling of these railroad cars, as artificial reef material will make a good program even better.

Adding millions to our economy 

According to Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program, the annual economic return to the local economy per railroad car would be $18,450. This results in a lifetime economic return of $266 million based on a projected lifespan of 20 years for 720 cars (see attachment B). Based upon the economic data, New York should make every effort to reap the benefits of this economic potential for the benefit of local dependent communities within the New York marine district.

Presently, other states such as Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia have placed or agreed to accept cars for their enhancement of reef sites. The rail cars used by these states originate and are transported from New York with all costs ($1.26 million) being borne by New York taxpayers. Not only are we paying for these costs, we are also missing out on Federal funding given to other states such as Delaware – $3.8 million (see attachment C). The people of New York are paying for the economic benefits being realized by these other states. In these times, New York cannot afford to lose out on this revenue generator for our local communities.

Meeting Health and safety Standards 

There have been some environmental issues regarding asbestos in the rail cars to be recycled. These concerns have been addressed and cleared by the following federal agencies:

– U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
– U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) 
– U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 
– U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)

Mr. William Muir, lead investigator for the U.S. EPA has addressed these concerns and approved as safe the use of these recycled railroad cars for placement on artificial reefs (see attachment D).

We look forward to your support and thank you for your cooperation in this matter. We await a timely and favorable response regarding this project. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require additional information. As always, we appreciate your time in evaluating our request.

John Mantione Coalition Chair

New York Fishing Tackle Trades Association – 300 businesses, affiliates and families New York Marine Trades Association – 200 businesses, 400,000 boaters 
Freeport Tuna Club – 225 members 
New York Sportfishing Federation 
Coastal Conservation Association NY – 1500 members statewide, 75000 nationally Recreational Fishing Alliance 
Sunrise Divers The Dive Club – 35 dive shops, 35 dive charter boats, 36 clubs 
Oakdale Sportsman Club 
Eastern Dive Boat Association 
Shinnecock Marlin & Tuna Club – 220 members 
Long Island Divers Association 
Gateway Striper Club – 20+ members 
Moriches Anglers Club – 30+ members 
Suffolk County Senior Citizens Fishing Club – 140 members 
American Society of Oceanographers, Inc. 
Suffolk Alliance of Sportsmen, Inc. 
Montauk Boatmen & Captains Association – 90 charter and party boats 
Moriches Off-Shore Reef Fund 
North Fork Captains Association – 16 Captains, 6000 anglers 
Manhasset Bay Sportsmen Club – 225 members 
Captree Boatmans Association – 25 boats, over 300,000 anglers 
Long Island Beach Buggy Association – 2000 members 
Babylon Tuna Club – 160+ members 
Great South Bay Anglers