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Maloney’s Legislation to Protect Hudson Valley Communities and River Infrastructure Passes House

Dec 9, 2020
Press Release

Maloney’s Legislation to Protect Hudson Valley Communities and River Infrastructure Passes House

Washington, D.C. - This week, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which contained three provisions Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) championed. The bill includes Rep. Maloney’s Dam Safety Improvement Act, a provision to advance the New York New Jersey Harbor & Tributaries project (NYNJHATS) under the Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act, as well as a provision to prioritize flood risk management projects on the Rondout Creek-Wallkill River Watershed. This legislation will support the Hudson Valley ecosystem and improve New York’s water infrastructure. 

“It’s our job 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 bills and provisions I authored and championed 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 and farmers.”

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 Dam Safety Improvement Act builds 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.

The Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act will help address the local impact of rising sea-levels and low-frequency precipitation 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. 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 New York New Jersey Harbor & Tributaries project (NYNJHATS) is designed to help protect New York from catastrophic storm damage, and design measures to manage future flood risk in ways that are effective and sustainable.

Under this bill, the Rondout Creek-Wallkill River Watershed flood reduction project will be prioritized and expedited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Rep. Maloney has fought for years to secure funds for Orange County farmers and communities along the Wallkill River impacted by frequent flooding and erosion, and improve infrastructure impacted by frequent flooding.     

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.