Schumer urges federal government to approve storm resiliency project

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer urged the Ast. Sec. Rickey Dale James of the Army for Civil Works on Tuesday to approve the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed project for more resilient infrastructure in Queens, Nassau and Brooklyn counties before another Hurricane Sandy-level storm has a chance to devastate the area.

“Approving the study will allow planning, design and eventually construction to finally go forward,” according to Schumer.

Three years after Hurricane Sandy hit New York on Oct. 22, 2012, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held public session meetings to figure out how to communities along the Atlantic Ocean from another disastrous storm in the future.

In the spring of 2019, a final report was released that studied the East Rockaway Inlet to the Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay, which is home to more than than 850,000 residents, as well as 46,000 residential and non-residential structures such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, wastewater treatment facilities, a subway and railroad in the impacted area, according to the USACE.

The study by the USACE has long-term solutions for erosion control and coastal protection, according to Schumer.

On Aug. 22, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the USACE’s commanding general signed off on the Atlantic Coast of New York East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay Hurricane Sandy Reformulation Study, which had recommendations from the Corps of Engineers’ to the Assistant Secretary for the Army for Civil Works for review and final approval so that work can begin.

The plan included beach restoration, seawall development, the addition of armor stone, extending certain areas, a flap valve, a drainage system, nature-based features and pumping stations, according to Semonite.

“The U.S. Army Corps has spent several years devoting its immense resources and expertise to writing this Chief’s Report. Now that we have the recommendations we need to make the Rockaway Peninsula and Jamaica Bay more resilient,” said Schumer.

The total estimated construction cost of the project if funded 100 percent by the federal government is $961,794,000, according to Semonite.

“Work as quickly as possible to provide your approval for the Atlantic Coast of New York, East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay Hurricane Sandy Reformulation Study so that construction plans can move forward as soon as possible,” said Schumer.

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