News > News > Preserve River Ecology > Riverkeeper Criticizes Environmental Review of Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement

Riverkeeper Criticizes Environmental Review of Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement


Contact: Tina Posterli, 516-526-9371, [email protected]

Formal comments challenge New York State’s failure to include mass transit option and avoid severe impacts to Hudson River; Call on state officials to address deficiencies and issue supplemental DEIS for public comment before final decision

Ossining, NY – April 2, 2012 – Riverkeeper has submitted extensive comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project, calling on state officials to heed the public’s concerns and reconsider their plan to push through a fatally flawed project that is obsolete from day one without mass transit, and would inflict severe damage on the Hudson River ecosystem.

Governor Cuomo and the state agencies involved have been pushing their plan forward at breakneck speed, disregarding the concerns of the public and local elected officials regarding how the bridge will be paid for, and the growing criticism of the “car only” bridge design as a shortsighted waste of government resources that fails to improve the region’s transportation system. They have also made every effort to marginalize the public and shield themselves from public accountability, by giving the public only 60 days to weigh in on the largest public works/engineering project in the Hudson Valley’s recent history, and failing to provide a detailed financial plan describing how a new bridge will be paid for.

“Governor Cuomo is trying to circumvent all of New York’s planning and public participation laws and ‘Robert Moses’ this project,” said Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper. “The governor doesn’t get to make up his own rules, but even if he did, he’s getting this one all wrong. Riverkeeper is not about to stand by when so much damage to the river is about to be done by such a flawed project.”

Riverkeeper’s comments point out numerous deficiencies in the DEIS that must be remedied before the project moves forward, including the following:

  • Failure to take the required “hard look” at legitimate alternatives such as a new bridge with mass transit, rehabilitating the existing bridge, or building a tunnel under the Hudson. State officials simply eliminated the full range of alternatives without justification, in order to push forward their “preferred alternative” of a gigantic, double span bridge with no mass transit.
  • Failure to conduct an adequate study of impacts to federally endangered Atlantic and Shortnose sturgeon and critical river habitat from five years of dredging and extensive pile driving which causes damaging underwater noise and vibration. The DEIS underestimates the impacts and fails to consider alternatives to minimize or avoid the impacts.
  • Illegal segmentation of the required environmental review. The state has pushed off the assessment of needed future improvements to adjacent highway segments and dredging and demolition of the existing bridge until some undetermined future date.
  • Failure to provide a financial analysis that supports the contention that the replacement bridge option is the best option that “maximizes the public investment.”

“The current project would essentially create a massive construction site in the middle of the Hudson River for years, destroying vital habitat for endangered species,” said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper. “Riverkeeper is committed to working with state and local officials to craft a sensible plan that meets the region’s transportation needs without causing undue harm to the Hudson River and nearby communities.”

Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
Become a Member