Cuomo Urged To Sign Bi-State River Commission Bill

Legislators from New York and New Jersey joined with residents to urge Gov. Cuomo to sign the Rockland/Bergen Bi-State River Commission Bill.
Legislators from New York and New Jersey joined with residents to urge Gov. Cuomo to sign the Rockland/Bergen Bi-State River Commission Bill.
A united group of New York and New Jersey legislators, town officials and Rockland homeowners on Wednesday pushed for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill creating the Rockland/Bergen Bi-State River Commission when it reaches his desk later this week or next week.  

The New York State Senate passed the measure last week following the State Assembly, which approved it in April. Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski said once the bill is delivered to the governor he has 10 days to act on it. NJ Governor Chris Christie signed the companion New Jersey legislation in 2012.  

Those who spoke at the press conference with Lake Tappan as a backdrop stressed the need for a commission that would bring representatives of both states to work together in a collaborative and coordinated effort on flood mitigation and water supply plans.  

“This is purely about coordination between two states,” said Zebrowski, adding the group addressing water issues needs a regional approach because of rivers and reservoirs that run through both states.  

Senator David Carlucci said a unified approach would be most effective because water does not know boundaries and does not know political boundaries.

The commission would have 12 voting members, six from New York and six from New Jersey with six non-voting members. The commission members, who would not be paid, would be appointed by the their respective state’s leadership. The six non-voting members would include the Rockland and Bergen county executives, state transportation commissioners, one representative each from United Water and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee said formation of the commission would make a huge difference in local communities which have had severe flooding.  

Bergen County Assemblywoman Connie Wagner said, “We need to work together to find ways we can get some preventive measures.”  

Bergen County Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi echoed that idea and added New Jersey municipalities can not do anything further to prevent flooding unless they are working in collaboration with their New York neighbors. Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack said the town has completed 110 flood mitigation projects but has reached a standstill because future projects need a coordinated effort. Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart said everyone lives downstream from somewhere else and a broader view of flooding issues is necessary.  

Several Rockland residents spoke about their experiences and hopes that the legislation would be signed.  

Kristine Bonagura of West Nyack said Hurricane Irene flooded her home with two and a half feet of water and totaled their two cars. In addition to the water damage, she said they had to deal with the environmental issues from the flooding.  

Suffern resident Claudia Inoa said,” So I ask why wait for everyone to be swimming out of their homes to bring everyone together. This is definitely the best step I’ve seen in a long time.”      
Michael Silver May 15, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Here's the reality... Under Cuomo NY has experienced the demise of 39,453 NY state businesses last year, Cuomo is raiding $1.75 billion from the reserves of the already over budget State Insurance Fund (SIF). Cuomo can not even hold on to his democratic majority which is in the middle of a corruption scandal with “show-me-the-money culture” and “pay-to-play politics” throughout Albany. Cuomo has disenfranchised the Northern and Western part of New York with his SAFE Act. Cuomo is afraid to make a decision, either way with respect to fracking, gambling or abortions. No matter what your position is, Cuomo is leaving New Yorkers with no resolution to these issues or the ability to move forward. New York has the highest taxes in the nation, is the most indebted state, with 33 percent of income dedicated to borrowing. It is ranked as the least "business-friendly" state in the country and if that were not bad enough NY has the distinction of being the least free state in the union and is called the “Nanny State” with politicians legislating what we eat and drink. Municipal governments from Nassau County to Yonkers to Syracuse are teetering. And during Mr. Cuomo’s time in office, unemployment has risen above the national average. 9% of the state’s 2000 population left for another state between 2000 and 2011 — the highest such figure in the nation, see the study by George Mason's independent libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center.
laurie seeman May 16, 2013 at 12:05 AM
The Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance stands with you. The Sparkill creek is a bi-state waterway.


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