Coun­cil asked to sup­port sin­gle-payer health plan

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

KINGSTON, N.Y. » Com­mon Coun­cil mem­bers are ask­ing the U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers to limit plans for storm-surge bar­ri­ers at the south­ern end of the Hud­son River.

The Army Corps is propos­ing plans to fend off storm surges such as the one from Su­per­storm Sandy in 2012 that flooded New York City and dam­aged in­fra­struc­ture.

Kingston law­mak­ers are urg­ing that bar­ri­ers be de­signed to pro­tect shore­lines of New York City and ur­ban New Jersey with­out af­fect­ing tidal flow upriver.

The Hud­son River is tidal over its 153 miles from New York City to Troy.

Op­po­si­tion to op­tions un­der con­sid­er­a­tion was given in a res­o­lu­tion by 7-0 vote Wed­nes­day, Sept. 12, with Al­der­man Wil­liam Carey, D-Ward 5, and Tony Davis, D-Ward 6, ab­sent.

Alder­woman An­drea Shaut, D-Ward 9, said the res­o­lu­tion is an ef­fort to voice con­cern for the “health of the river and its wildlife.”

U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers op­tions in­clude:

• Con­struc­tion of a fivemile long bar­rier be­tween Breezy Point Tip in New York and Gate­way National Re­cre­ation Area in New Jersey;

• Build­ing a bar­rier un­der­neath the Ver­razano-Nar­rows Bridge with a se­ries of flood walls along Ja­maica Bay; and

• Build­ing shore­line sea walls along dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions of New York City, Ja­maica Bay, and New Jersey.

The pro­pos­als can be viewed on­line at bit. ly/2MVUpYx.

Kingston coun­cil mem­bers in the res­o­lu­tion wrote that the plans ei­ther “al­most en­tirely block ei­ther the Hud­son River ... trib­u­taries dur­ing storm events and would al­ter river and trib­u­tary flow pat­terns at all times.”

Of­fi­cial added that the pro­posed bar­ri­ers could im­pede the river’s tidal flow, con­tam­i­nant and sed­i­ments move­ment, and change tidal res­pi­ra­tion.

“Over time the fre­quent de­ploy­ment of bar­ri­ers have the po­ten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly re­strict mi­gra­tion of striped bass, At­lantic stur­geon, her­ring, shad, eel and other species es­sen­tial to the Hud­son es­tu­ary; pre­vent the ocean tide from flush­ing New York Har­bor, and in­hibit in­land rain­storm flood wa­ters like those of Irene and Lee in 2011 from leav­ing the Hud­son,” they wrote.

“Open tidal ex­change is es­sen­tial to move sed­i­ment and flush con­tam­i­nants and if ... re­stricted the har­bor could re­quire much more dredg­ing to main­tain ship­ping chan­nels,” city of­fi­cials wrote. “Sewage and other con­tam­i­nant could flush to the ocean more slowly, re­sult­ing in more pol­lu­tion for our al­ready con­tam­i­nated har­bor and river.”

The city in­cluded in its res­o­lu­tion a let­ter from River­keeper out­lin­ing the threats and con­tend­ing that U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers had not sched­uled enough pub­lic meet­ings and had a com­ment pe­riod that was too short.

“The meet­ings ... were too few, an­nounced too late, and were not ad­ver­tised so that the pub­lic would ac­tu­ally be aware,” they wrote.

River­keeper also crit­i­cized the U.S. Army Corps for a lack of qual­ity in­for­ma­tion about the pro­pos­als.

“The Pow­erPoint slides and the fact sheet pro­vided to the pub­lic to date are com­pletely in­ad­e­quate,” River­keeper of­fi­cials con­tend. “The Army Corps needs to pub­lish com­pre­hen­sive in­for­ma­tion about all the al­ter­na­tives be­ing con­sid­ered, in­clud­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts on the Hud­son and the Har­bor and to share with the pub­lic the com­plete list of ex­ist­ing stud­ies it will con­sult in the pre­lim­i­nary assess­ment of the projects.”

The Rhinebeck Town Board in Au­gust also raised con­cerns with the plans and said more time for pub­lic com­ment is needed.

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