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Riverkeeper Voices Concern Over New Tappan Zee Bridge Project Proposal

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Submits comments on scope of environmental impact statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Tina Posterli, 516-526-9371, tposterli@riverkeeper.org

Ossining, NY – November 23, 2011 – Riverkeeper is expressing extreme concern over the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project proposal, which does not address vital issues such as traffic congestion and pollution and has the potential to cause needless destruction to the Hudson River and surrounding communities and environment. Represented by Pace Law School’s Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains, NY, Riverkeeper has submitted comments to the New York State Department of Transportation on the scope of the intended Tappan Zee Bridge environmental impact statement and has requested involvement in the decision-making process as the project progresses.

Riverkeeper’s key concerns with the project proposal as presented in the scoping documents are: an insufficient public participation process, no inclusion of mass transit options, and insufficient funding to assure that negative environmental impacts of a new bridge are minimized. Another significant issue is that the scope of the project has been modified to only include a 4-mile span as opposed to the originally intended plan of the 30-mile I-287 corridor. Because the current plan proposes to expand the Tappan Zee to 8 lanes of automotive traffic and traffic patterns will be significantly affected, the study area should not only include the 4-mile immediate project area, but also the future impacts on the originally proposed 30-mile I-287 Corridor.

“Why are the lead state and federal agencies even bothering with an environmental impact analysis, when they’ve already decided what they’re going to do: build an on-the-cheap, no-mass-transit bridge that does unnecessary damage to the Hudson River and nothing to help with traffic congestion or reducing carbon? Before committing scarce public dollars, our officials need to study alternatives that harm the river less and actually do something to bring our transportation system into the 21 st Century,” said Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper.

Other concerns Riverkeeper is raising about the project include:

  • The lead agencies failed to take a hard look at legitimate alternatives and provide an alternatives analysis that is accessible to the public. This includes a vigorous analysis as to why the new construction option is preferred over a complete rehabilitation of the current bridge or construction of a cross-Hudson tunnel.
  • The scoping documents do not consider the project’s effects on the surrounding residential communities, including the long term effects on new traffic patterns during and after construction.
  • The project is inconsistent with Executive Order 24, which requires New York State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050. The current proposal does not provide for mass transit and lacks any reference to greenhouse gas emissions from the demolition and construction process.

Riverkeeper has been involved in the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement proposals since the scoping on the initial 30-mile corridor revitalization plan in the early 2000s, and will actively monitor the progress of the newly proposed project as it moves forward.

Read Riverkeeper’s comments (PDF).

About Riverkeeper

Riverkeeper is a member-supported, watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents.

For more information, please visit www.riverkeeper.org.

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