Senate Okays Gilboa Dam Disclosure Bill

James L. Seward

March 06, 2006

Taking another step forward in its efforts to improve dam safety, boost disclosure and make New York City take greater responsibility for the operation, safety and maintenance of its dam, the New York State Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senators James L. Seward and John Bonacic that would boost public disclosure of the safety conditions of the city’s dams.

Senate bill 6417A requires the state Department of Environmental Conservation to provide copies of its inspection reports of city-owned dams to local officials in which the dams are located and the county’s chief executive officer. In addition, any local official within the county could request a copy of the inspection reports.

"We continue to move ahead with responsible, measured legislation that will improve state oversight of the dams' operation and maintenance and ensure public disclosure of conditions at the city’s dams," Seward said. "Local elected officials where the dams are located need to know how safe their constituents are, and the bill approved by the senate will give local officials the information they need."

Last week the senate passed senate bill 6415A, a more comprehensive measure, which requires the state Department of Environmental Conservation to undertake an enhanced inspection program of high hazard dams. Both bills are pending in the assembly.

"This bill is another step forward as we keep the pressure on," Seward said.

Seward and Bonacic have filed a package of legislation that would require enhanced vigilance by the city of its dams.

This year Seward also announced that he would be setting aside $50,000 in the 2006-2007 state budget to help offset Schoharie County's expenses resulting from the heightened state of alarm over the dam's safety. The county and towns have updated their emergency plans and are considering an early warning system and a PSAP center.

"This is about keeping my constituents safe and making sure that the city improves its management of the Gilboa Dam," Seward concluded.