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Maloney Introduces Legislation to Prevent Funding Lapse for Critical Dam Safety Program

Jun 1, 2018
Press Release
“High Hazard” Dam Program Provides Support to Prevent Loss of Life from Dam Failure

Hudson Valley Home to Nearly 100 of New York’s Most Dangerous Dams

WASHINGTON —  Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) has introduced legislation to reauthorize the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP), which establishes partnerships between federal and state agencies to protect lives threatened by dam failures. Rep. Maloney introduced and worked to pass similar legislation into law in 2014 as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). That legislation authorized the program for five years, but without a new authorization states like New York could lose out on critical funding to help them improve dam safety. To prevent a lapse in authorization, Rep. Maloney has introduced legislation to move the expiration to the end of 2024. 

“People don’t realize how important dam safety is until one fails and destroys the surrounding communities, floods farmlands and people lose their lives,” said Rep. Maloney. “Right here in the Hudson Valley we saw dams at real risk of failure during recent storms. This is something we need to be taking seriously and we have to make responsible investments in the Dam Safety Program to do that.”

Nearly 100 of the Hudson Valley’s 800 dams are designated as “high hazard,” meaning their failure would result in the loss of life and serious economic damage to the surrounding community. To combat this problem, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operates the NDSP, which provides support to states like New York in developing Emergency Action Plans (EAPs), public awareness campaigns, the implementation of existing dam safety programs, the purchase of equipment, and dam safety inspections.

Rep. Maloney’s Dam Safety Reauthorization Act extends the authorization for the NDSP through 2024. Rep. Maloney also wrote a letter to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-IL) requesting that the committee include a “clean” dam safety reauthorization in the base text of the 2018 version of WRRDA to prevent a lapse in authorization for the program.