Seward To Bloomberg: Bite The Big Apple And Pay Your Bills

 

State Senator James L. Seward says he will initiate a campaign to revoke New York City's filtration avoidance determination (FAD) from the EPA if the city won't step up to the plate and pay for Schoharie County's expenses related to emergency preparedness. Seward announced his intention in a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The FAD allows the city to avoid building an expensive water filtration facility. City DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd recently declined to authorize payment for some of the county's emergency preparedness expenses.

"The commissioner's response insults the people I represent who live downstream of the city's dam -- 19 billion gallons of liquid hell roaring down a valley and destroying anything in its path," Seward said. "The ferocity of the June 27 floods in my area -- and the devastation across my district -- testify to the power of floods and the need for adequate early warnings.

"The county finds itself in its current position -- having to prepare for the worst while praying for the best -- because of decades of neglect on the part of the city's current and past administrations. For years, New York City has been happy to collect drinking water from upstate without a thought for the safety of those who live in the shadow of old and structurally questionable earthen berms," Seward added.

Seward said the additional reimbursement requested by the county was insignificant compared to the cost of a water filtration plant.

"The right thing for the city to do is to fix these dams to the highest standards, provide for flood control, and pay for emergency expenses that the county wouldn't have had to fund if the city had maintained its dams over the years," Seward said.

Seward has pledged $50,000 in state legislative funding to assist the county with its expenses. He has filed legislation this year with Sen. Bonacic to improve state oversight of, and record-keeping pertaining to, high hazard dams.

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August 4, 2006

Hon. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor
City of New York
253 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007

RE: GILBOA DAM, SCHOHARIE COUNTY

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

I am enclosing correspondence from the chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors along with the response he received from DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd answering his request for additional support from the city for its Gilboa Dam emergency preparedness expenses.
The commissioner's response insults the people I represent who live downstream of the city's dam -- 19 billion gallons of liquid hell roaring down a valley and destroying anything in its path. The ferocity of the June 27 floods in my area -- and the devastation across my district -- testify to the power of floods and the need for adequate early warnings.

The county finds itself in its current position -- having to prepare for the worst while praying for the best -- because of decades of neglect on the part of the city's current and past administrations. For years, New York City has been happy to collect drinking water from upstate without a thought for the safety of those who live in the shadow of old and structurally questionable earthen berms.

I appreciate the city's renewed and vigorous interest in taking steps to secure the dam, reduce the possibility of flooding, and provide for flood control. But Schoharie County has had to act in the best interests of its constituents in the interim.

In order to responsibly provide for the safety of their constituents in the event of a dam failure, the board of supervisors has taken measured steps to develop a system to warn and alert their constituents of an impending dam failure. Had the dam been regularly maintained, I doubt the county would have experienced the level of fear and concern that has led it to develop the early warning-siren system.

I must ask you to consider the county's request for additional reimbursement above the $181,000 approved by Commissioner Lloyd.

If the city will not cooperate and do the right thing, I will have no choice but to campaign for modification and removal of the city's current EPA filtration avoidance determination. The expense of assisting Schoharie County pales in comparison to the cost of constructing a water filtration plant.

My elected officials and I deserve nothing less than the city's full cooperation and assistance to ensure the safety of our constituents.

With best wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours,


JAMES L. SEWARD
State Senator
JLS:ddjt
Enc.
Cc: Mr. Daniel Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor
Hon. Earl Van Wormer, III
Commissioner Emily Lloyd
Senator John J. Bonacic
Assemblyman Daniel Hooker
Mr. Jeff Lane