NEWBURGH – There are 400 dams in New York State that are classified as high-hazard and 100 of them are in Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s 18th District in Putnam, Westchester, Orange and Dutchess counties.
The freshman Democrat announced on Wednesday that he would introduce legislation next week to provide a new national dam safety program; the previous one expired in 2011.
One of the dams that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Irene, the Upper Reservoir Dam owned by the Village of Warwick, was rebuilt with $800,000 of FEMA money. Mayor Michael Newhard said on Wednesday a national dam safety program would provide information for communities to take proactive action.
“Without a program like this that the congressman is championing here, you need the testing done on a regular basis, the plan in place, and I think this act getting it re-established will help us do that,” Newhard said. “It will give us the tools as local municipalities to be proactive in knowing the dangers ahead of time.”
Maloney was critical of the previous Congress for allowing the law to expire.
“The last Congress was too busy fighting to reauthorize this bill; it needs to get done,” he said.
Maloney believes he can secure bipartisan support for the legislation to be approved in both houses. The bill would include $32 million over a five-year period.