07/30/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/30/2020 15:49
Maloney's Bills to Protect Hudson Valley Environment, River Infrastructure, and River Communities Pass Through House
Washington, D.C.- This week, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which contained two provisions Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) championed. His bills, the Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act and the Dam Safety Improvement Act, were included in the larger legislative package, and will support the Hudson Valley ecosystem and improve New York's water infrastructure.
'We have a duty to protect the Hudson River and our river communities - not just today, but for future generations of New Yorkers,' said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. 'I'm proud that my bills were included in this strong bipartisan package, and will continue to fight for more projects that respond to the threat of climate change, improve our water infrastructure, and protect our river communities.'
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is a legislative package that authorizes studies and projects within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works mission areas, including: navigation; flood, hurricane, storm damage reduction; shoreline protection; and ecosystem restoration.
The Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act will help address the local impact of rising sea-levels by authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to study both this threat, and the threat of hurricane damage in coastal communities throughout the country. According to the federal U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), sea levels along the coasts of New York State have risen by about 13 inches since 1880, and are projected to rise another 1-to-4 feet by 2100. The rising sea levels will increase the frequency and severity of flooding, putting communities and coastal ecosystems along the Hudson River, an extension of the Atlantic Ocean, at risk.
The Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act is co-led by Reps. Nydia Velazquez (NY-7) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). It is supported by several New York environmental organizations, including Riverkeeper:
'It has never been more urgent to address the increasing threats of sea level rise and climate change to the New York/New Jersey region and the Hudson River ecosystem. We must study and implement multi-layered, multi-faceted solutions to these critical problems while engaging directly affected communities and protecting ecosystems services. The Army Corps of Engineers has had limited authority to properly address these issues in the New York/New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study. Riverkeeper appreciates Representatives Maloney, Velazquez, and Espaillat's leadership and support in introducing, and getting passed, the Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act to expand the Corps' authority to perform a robust study of solutions that fully incorporate sea level rise and require community engagement throughout the process. It is incumbent upon the Senate to match this authorization so that the Corps can get back to work on real regional solutions,' said Jessica Roff, Director of Advocacy and Engagement, Riverkeeper.
The Dam Safety Improvement Act will build on the success of the High-Hazard Dam Rehabilitation Program by expanding eligibility of funds for the repair and rehabilitation of high-hazard dams. This important program was created by Rep. Maloney's Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act, which was signed into law in 2016. New York State has the 8th most high-hazard dams in the country totaling 403, with nearly 100 of those dams in the Hudson Valley. The average age of America's 90,000+ dams is 56 years old. Maintaining this critical infrastructure will save lives.
Rep. Maloney serves on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. He has been a long-time champion of environmental protection measures and has worked to protect and improve infrastructure in river communities up and down the Hudson River.