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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: American Rivers
Stephanie Lindloff, American Rivers 518-482-2631
Caitlin Jennings, American Rivers 202-347-7550 ext. 3100
New York State Governor Paterson's New Executive Order May Put Communities at Risk of Dam Failure
Statement of Stephanie Lindloff of American Rivers
ALBANY, N.Y. - April 29 - An Executive Order (EO-17), recently signed by New York's Governor David Paterson, to relieve property taxes could result in increased dam failures in communities statewide. Per the order, the critical responsibilities of governmental dam owners may be "unfunded mandates" of questionable community investment.
Stephanie Lindloff, River Restoration Program Director for American Rivers, made the following statement:
"We must not jeopardize public safety under the auspices of property tax relief. Just as any car owner must pay for an annual inspection, local government dam owners must pay for regular dam inspections and must bear responsibility for maintaining dams in safe condition. For too long, dams have been out of sight, out of mind - until a dam fails, causing property damage and even loss of life."
"We urge the Governor to work quickly with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to protect New York's citizens by finalizing vital dam safety rules that have been in the works for over three years. Too many dams, properties, and lives are at stake. Municipalities and local governments own 20 percent of New York's dams, and 34 percent of all the state's high or significant hazard dams - dams that would cause loss of life, or considerable damage to property and infrastructure if they were to fail."