Blogs > Ecology > Storm surge barrier plans for NY Harbor: Comments from the public

Storm surge barrier plans for NY Harbor: Comments from the public

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Assorted commentary by public officials, journalists and members of the public.

“We welcome good, common-sense ideas to prevent massive flooding in our region. A 5-mile ‘sea barrier’ is not one of them.”
Editorial, The Record (N.J.)

“The fact that those two alternatives exist [for storm surge barriers at Sandy Hook or Verrazano Narrows] is inconceivable. The fact that they were announced 12 days before the public meeting is inexcusable.”
– Editorial, Rivertowns Enterprise (N.Y.)

“It is clear to me that a project of this significance must be fully understood by all who would be affected. The opportunity for study and comment has been unnecessarily brief. While I understand that recent storms have prompted a call for urgent action, we must not rush into construction and permanent change to the nature of the river until we have public approval to proceed.”
– Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, July 30, 2018

“Connecticut residents rightly have comments and concerns about each of these proposals, particularly those that call for building a barrier around the Throgs Neck Bridge. Even though this project is still in its early stages, what alternatives are chosen for further study have great implications for Connecticut. Ensuring our constituents have the ability to include their voices in public comment at this stage is critical.”
– U.S. Senators Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Congressman Joe Courtney, Congressman Jim Himes, Letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, August 16, 2018

“I strongly urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to hold additional informational meetings on the proposal. Every community member impacted by this project should have the opportunity to be part of the conversation.”
– Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, Letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, July 17, 2018

“The public needs to be involved and be present at these meetings, because our Hudson River comes above all else.”
New York State Senator Terrence Murphy

“We do not have to kill our river to save it.”
Dominick Calsolaro, The Alt

“I have a great respect for the river, and I want to see the health of the river & our river communities maintained.”
Mary Arnold, Poughkeepsie

“The biggest problem we’ve had in trying to control flooding is that we throw concrete at everything. This does the same thing. You’re just pushing the water somewhere else.”
Gil Hawkins, Hudson River Fishermen’s Association

“You essentially shut off the tide, which brings in oxygen and nutrients and basically cleans the water system. You turn a living, breathing estuary into a stagnant lake.”
Greg Remaud, executive director of NY/NJ Baykeeper

“When they’re proposing that kind of massive proposal, they need to do a full environmental impact study and have better engagement.”
Shino Tanikawa, SWIM Coalition, NYC

“In theory, one way to achieve the City’s goals for its coastline may be the construction of massive protective infrastructure, such as harborwide storm surge barriers at the entrances to New York Harbor. As attractive as the concept of a single ‘silver bullet’ solution may be, though, a closer examination of this strategy strongly suggests that relying on such a solution would pose significant risks to the city that far outweigh its theoretical benefits.”
New York City Economic Development Corporation, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” 2013

“Many communities in Westchester County have experienced coastal storm and flooding damage and have already taken significant actions to protect their communities, residents, environment, critical infrastructure, and improve their resiliency to impacts associated with a changing climate. I urge you to first prioritize ways to work cooperatively with these communities to support and build on the actions they already have underway.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should consider ways to support and work with these well researched and publicly supported programs and actions rather than constructing physical barriers that will impact the tidal flows to this unique and irreplaceable river and estuary.
“Instead of a focus on building massive man-made structures to control our environment, I urge the federal government to focus on taking immediate and meaningful actions to reduce the human impact on climate change.”
Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

“As a city that has been directly impacted by large coastal storms, including Superstorm Sandy, we understand and appreciate the need to become more resilient against future storms that bring damaging coastal flooding. … The measures being considered as part of the NYNJHAT Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study, particularly those which include in-water barriers, would have far reaching impacts that could affect the health of the entire Hudson River Estuary and the many communities that thrive along its shores. I am concerned that despite the significance of the potential impacts and cost to taxpayers for the measures under consideration, there has been a lack of outreach, involvement and information on this project provided to both the public and local municipal leaders.”
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, August 1, 2018

“This extension would allow for additional public meetings to be scheduled in the Hudson Valley and other areas of the state, and will give more New Yorkers the opportunity to join the conversation,” said Senator Murphy. “In addition to extending the comment period, I also request that more information be shared with the public, including the studies that the United States Army Corps of Engineers is using to evaluate alternatives. A longer comment period and the availability of more information will create a more transparent and productive dialog between New Yorkers who will be affected by this proposal and the federal government.”
New York State Senator Terrence Murphy

“The Hudson River is the lifeblood for so many of our local communities and protecting and preserving it needs to always be one of our highest priorities. While we understand the critical importance of properly preparing our area for extreme weather, in doing so, we need to hear directly from the communities that would be impacted. I join today with Senator Murphy and Senator Phillips in calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the DEC to extend the public comment period for these proposals so that our communities have the chance to be heard.”
– New York State Senator Sue Serino

“With communities still recovering from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, it is paramount to include the insights and concerns of our residents. If another storm hits our region, Long Island will undoubtedly face the brunt of the disaster given our proximity to water. I call on the Army Corps of Engineers and the State DEC to make sure that Long Islanders have the opportunity to be heard and have our needs addressed.”
New York State Senator Elaine Phillips

“Given the enormous and eternal consequences that would result from the project alternatives listed in the NYNJHAT Feasibility Study, any initial selection or prioritization of alternatives is unconscionable without knowledge of the full range of impacts.”
League of Women Voters of the Rivertowns

“I have four requests: Provide 120 days for the scoping comment period; Provide more information on the proposals; Require a full Environmental Impact Statement and a National Environmental Policy review; Set a public hearing in the Lower Hudson Valley on the proposals.”
New York State Assemblyman James Skoufis, Letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

“Rising sea levels pose an extreme, immediate danger for the 500,000 New Yorkers who live near our shores. Frankly, it’s shocking the Corps is giving an incomplete answer to the question of how we make New York City more resilient. The public deserves to give its say on these proposals, which I strongly urge the Corps to reconsider altogether.”
New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides

 

Municipal resolutions

Beacon: Resolution to request an extension of the scoping comment period with additional public information and scoping meetings for the NY/NJ Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

Cortlandt (Town): Resolution in opposition to Army Corps of Engineers New York/New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Focus area feasibility study for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study or community participation.

Croton-on-Hudson: Resolution to request an extension of the scoping comment period with additional public information and scoping meetings for the NY/NJ Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study.

Dobbs Ferry: Resolution in opposition to proposed plans for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study or community participation

Hastings: Resolution in opposition to proposed plans for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study or community participation

Hudson 7 (Towns of Esopus, Lloyd, Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, Rhinebeck; Village of Rhinebeck; City of Poughkeepsie): Comments on NY/NJ Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

Irvington (Village): Resolution requesting an extension of the comment period for the feasibility study

Kingston: Resolution in opposition to proposed plans for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study

Lloyd: Requesting an extension of the scoping comment period with additional public meetings and comment sessions regarding coastal storm damage prevention

Ossining: Resolution in opposition to proposed plans for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study or community participation

Peekskill: Resolution requesting an extension of the commenting period and to complete specific studies prior to considering proposed alternatives

Piermont: Resolution in opposition to proposed plans for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study or community participation

Putnam (County): Request to NYSDEC and USACE regarding public comment, public information, and public scoping meetings concerning proposed storm surge barriers

Poughkeepsie (Town): Requesting an extension of the scoping comment period with additional public meetings and comment sessions regarding coastal storm damage prevention

Rhinebeck (Town): Requesting an extension of the scoping comment period with additional public information and scoping meetings, for the NY/NJ Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

Rhinebeck (Village): Requesting an extension of the scoping comment period with additional public information and scoping meetings, for the NY/NJ Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

Saugerties (Town): Requesting an extension for comments from 30 to 45 days

Sleepy Hollow (Village): Requesting more studies to be done related to storm surge barriers in the Hudson River

Stony Point: Resolution in opposition to proposed plans for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study or community participation

Tarrytown: Resolution in opposition to proposed plans for coastal storm risk management without sufficient study or community participation

Ulster (County): Request for public comment extension on Coastal Storm Risk Management

Download a model municipal resolution.

Comments on ‘scope’ of study

“The Corps has been tasked with answering the wrong question. The current feasibility study is focused solely on addressing threats from increased storm surge and fails to grapple with sea level rise concerns. The in-water barriers included in several of the Corps’ proposed project alternatives would do absolutely nothing to protect people in New York and New Jersey against flooding from sea level rise associated with climate change. Any proposed project alternatives must address the whole picture, and any alternative that does not address sea level rise is, from the start, fatally flawed and should not be a matter for study.”
“For the NY/NJ HAT Feasibility Study to be scientifically sound and for the agency to meaningfully engage the public, the Corps must slow its pace, fix the flawed process, and seek to protect New Yorkers from both storm surge and sea level rise in a way that allows our rivers to run free.”
– Riverkeeper Public Comments to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, November 5, 2018

“As far as the upriver estuary is concerned, large, pie-in-the-sky solutions are not the way to resolve this problem; we must look to the power of the small for the solutions for these communities. Here is an opportunity for USACE—that great corps of engineers that originated here on the Hudson River in the West Point Military Academy—to step up to the bar and assert its birthright by creating new science in enabling our survival in a troublesome and difficult future. ACE is to be commended for stepping up to its responsibilities under Public Law 71 of 1955, but the agency should be more aggressive and act more responsibly toward the local communities (responding to their questions is a good start), and develop realistic recommendations in a realistic context.”
Vernon Benjamin, Special Operations Coordinator, Town of Saugerties, November 4, 2018

“Due to the prospect of long-term climate change and sea-level rise, which are not adequately accounted for in the available information presented to date, the in-water fixed-elevation storm-surge barrier alternatives are likely to become rapidly obsolete. Furthermore, there is an enormous risk of irreversible unintended consequences in disrupting the present estuarine system by obstructing free tidal exchange of water to the open ocean.”
Timothy T. Eaton and Gregory D. O’Mullan, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Queens College CUNY, November 5, 2018

“Four of the six conceptual plans under consideration by the Corps represent a scale of
unprecedented in-water development within the NY Bight and Hudson River Estuary that
demands intense public scrutiny and discussion. The sheer magnitude of some of the proposals,
stretching from Sandy Hook, N.J. to Breezy Point, N.Y. with major barriers and gates on interior
waterways could have major unintended consequences upon the Hudson River estuary and
beyond.”
– Roger Downs, Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter

“The costs and benefits of maintaining a healthy ecosystem are every bit as tangible as real estate property values. In fact, among the many important ecosystem services that should be factored into Tier I analysis is the protection afforded by marshes and other shoreline natural features from future storms, protection that could be jeopardized by some of the current ACOE proposals.”
– Peggy Kurtz, Sierra Club, Lower Hudson Group

Learn more

Riverkeeper information page: Storm Surge Barriers

Barrier plans threaten the Hudson River

Take action

Tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Do not harm the Hudson with storm surge barriers

7 responses to “Storm surge barrier plans for NY Harbor: Comments from the public”

  1. […] Click here to read comments from elected officials, members of the public and newspaper editorial bo… […]

  2. […] requested an extension and public pressure mounted, the Corps extended it to September 20. After further pressure and multiple municipal resolutions, the deadline was extended to November 5. The public is also calling for more public meetings. The […]

  3. […] See what your neighbors are saying and read municipal resolutions. […]

  4. […] See what your neighbors are saying and read municipal resolutions. […]

  5. […] numerous environmental groups, elected officials and at least 17 Hudson Valley communities have demanded more time, information and public participation since the Corps presented the six options to the […]

  6. […] numerous environmental groups, elected officials and at least 17 Hudson Valley communities have formally demanded more time, information and public […]

  7. […] Eighteen communities along the Hudson River have called for more time, information and public meetings on the barrier study. […]

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