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Cuomo, citing cost, vetoes stream protection bill

Nov 30, 2020 12:30 pm
Rick Karlin is reporting for the Times Union citing cost concerns, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo November 28, vetoed a bill that would have required permits to alter roughly 40,000 miles of small unregulated “Class C” streams statewide. “While well-intentioned, this bill would have a tremendous fiscal impact on state and local government,” Cuomo said in his veto message. He noted passage of the bill would have required adding “significant numbers of full-time staff,” to the state payroll to oversee the new regulations. Environmentalists, however, argue the measure would have protected streams and creeks that often feed into larger bodies of water as well as drinking water sources. “Governor Cuomo passed up a real opportunity to safeguard tens of thousands of miles of headwater streams and creeks in New York,” said Jeremey Cherson, legislative advocacy manager for the Riverkeeper environmental group. “This veto was a mistake, since it is cheaper to protect streams proactively than spend far more later to restore them once the damage is done.” The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Protection of Waters programs designates streams as  Class AA, A, B, C and D for purposes of regulations. Only the AA, A  and B classifications currently require permits for activities like dredging or stream bank modification, noted Cherson. Stream disturbances, including manicuring banks along golf courses, building small bridges or diverting the flow away from a housing or development site can affect water quality and potentially harm aquatic life. Disturbances can increase sediment and even change the temperature in a stretch of water. Read the full story in the Times Union.