Assemblymember Barrett Calls on Army Corps of Engineers to Extend Public Comment Period for Proposed Surge Barriers

Barrett: Public must take action against potentially dangerous federal storm surge proposals
July 9, 2018

One year after ten thousand residents across the Hudson Valley and New York State successfully fought against a federal proposal to add over 40 anchorage sites to the Hudson River – thereby preventing it from becoming a fossil fuel highway – a new set of federal proposals to add storm surge barriers threatens the vitality of the historic river once again. An official 30-day comment period that will run through August 20, 2018 has been announced and a public hearing conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 11, from 6pm to 8pm in Poughkeepsie.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering six different proposals to add massive in-water barriers and/or land-based floodwalls, dunes, and levees intended to manage the risk of coastal storm damage to New York Harbor and the Hudson Valley. While smart storm surge protection is clearly important, some of these current proposals will restrict the Hudson River’s tidal flow, causing an increase in concentrated pollution and sedimentation. These barriers will also impede the migration patterns of key aquatic species including striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, and herring and the damage could erase years of restoration to the Hudson River's economy and ecology.

“After decades of fighting to preserve the Hudson River, our natural resources and scenic beauty, we are faced with another potentially disastrous proposal from the federal government - this time on storm surge barriers,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “This proposal affects the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the Hudson Valley, and the current public comment period must be extended to ensure that every impacted community is heard from. I urge the people of our region to once again stand up and take action. We’ve successfully pushed back against federal fast-tracking before and we will do it again.”

“Building storm surge barriers across New York Harbor could threaten the entire Hudson River Estuary,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan. “Scenic Hudson urges residents to attend Wednesday’s meeting in Poughkeepsie so they can understand the proposal and its potential impacts on the river, its wildlife and communities along it. This proposal requires a thorough public process that provides ample opportunity for all stakeholders to weigh in on the project’s need and design, including an extended comment period.”

Poughkeepsie Public Hearing Details:

Wednesday, July 11, 6-8 p.m., Poughkeepsie: Hudson Valley Community Center (Auditorium room), 110 South Grand Avenue, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

All members of the public are invited to attend.