In A Letter to Army Corps of Engineers, Governor Urges Approval of Department of Environmental Conservation’s Request for Emergency Rehabilitation Assistance.

Following significant storm damage and erosion from Tuesday’s winter storm, Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the State’s continued response to storm damage in Suffolk County. Governor Hochul also issued a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to expeditiously approve the Department of Environmental Conservation’s request for emergency rehabilitation assistance. 

“The safety of New Yorkers is my top priority, and we are working closely with our partners on Long Island to address the impact of this week’s storm,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m calling on our federal partners to review and expedite our requests for support. The compounding impacts of erosion on Long Island is threatening our communities and infrastructure and requires urgent action.”  

In a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Governor Hochul urged for the approval of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) request for emergency rehabilitation assistance for multiple USACE Coastal Storm Risk Management Projects along the coast of Long Island in connection with excessive damage caused by Hurricane Lee and Tropical Storm Ophelia last September.  

Following an initial denial by USACE, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in coordination with Suffolk County, worked quickly to fully document the extensive damage wrought to coastal resiliency projects, including dunes, by previous storms and stress the need for emergency repairs. In response to recent coastal erosion, it is more urgent than ever that this work begins immediately to restore these resiliency projects to protect public safety and mitigate the severity of the damage in these communities. 

In addition, Governor Hochul directed DEC and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) to coordinate with Suffolk County to evaluate the damage of yesterday’s storm to determine if it qualifies for additional federal assistance through FEMA, USACE or any other avenues.  

If and when a determination is made, the State will be requesting immediate emergency assistance.  

Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine said, “On behalf of the residents of who have been affected by this storm, I want to thank Governor Hochul for her support and commitment to Suffolk County. It is only through partnerships among all levels of government that we can truly serve the people, and I will be working with Governor Hochul to do all we can to bring relief in the wake of another devastating storm event.”  

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said, “We thank Governor Hochul for drawing attention to the extensive damage suffered recently in our coastal community. In Babylon in particular, a beloved Town facility, Overlook Beach, has basically been erased from the map as a result of the last few storms. We urgently join the Governor’s call for the Army Corps of Engineers to provide immediate assistance.”

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico said, “Brookhaven Town called on the Army Corps of Engineers after the last storm, warning about exactly what occurred during this recent storm. Now with this most recent devastation, we join Governor Hochul in renewing the call for immediate action.” 

Brookhaven Town Councilman Neil Foley said, “As the local Councilman representing Fire Island and parts of the South Shore in Brookhaven District 5, I stand united with Governor Hochul in urgently appealing to the Army Corps of Engineers. The recent challenges demand immediate attention, and by working collaboratively, we can address the issues promptly, ensuring the well-being of our community and preventing further deterioration. Together, let’s take proactive steps to remedy the situation before it escalates any further.”

Continued State Response on Long Island

New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs 

The New York National Guard remains on high alert and Governor Hochul will send Long Island assistance as needed.  

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services  

DHSES is working with local partners on damage assessments to determine if Suffolk County can access low-interest recovery loans for homeowners and businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration.   

Department of Environmental Conservation 

DEC, in coordination with Suffolk County, worked quickly to fully document the extensive damage wrought to coastal resiliency projects, including dunes, by previous storms and stress the need for emergency repairs. DEC will expedite its review of any necessary environmental permits.

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

State Parks staff are placing and repositioning sandbags around buildings at oceanfront State Parks throughout the Long Island. Additionally, staff placed sand at Gilgo State Park to fortify the entrance and exit roads and prevent flooding of the Ocean Parkway. Once high water levels from Tuesday’s storm recede, State Parks staff will fortify a protective sand berm from the East Bathhouse to the West Bathhouse through the Central Mall, at Jones Beach State Park.

Park visitors should visit, check the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call their local park office for the latest updates regarding park hours, openings and closings. 

Department of Public Service 

PSEG Long Island has restored power to all 26,541 customers affected by the gusty winds and heavy rain that brought down trees and heavy branches on wires, causing scattered power outages throughout PSEG Long Island’s service territory. The storm also caused widespread flooding in Ocean Beach on Fire Island. Some water entered the Ocean Beach substation, requiring PSEG Long Island to shut off equipment for safety. Crews restored power to customers on Wednesday. 

All PSEG Long Island employees were mobilized to support the restoration efforts, including more than 900 line workers, tree trimmers, surveyors and other field personnel. In addition, more than 720 internal and external contractors from Long Island, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana are on site to address outages.

Governor Hochul’s Comprehensive Resiliency Plan to Protect New Yorkers

This week, Governor Hochul announced a comprehensive resiliency plan to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather as part of her 2024 State of the State. Highlights include:  

  • Creating the Resilient & Ready Program to create a flexible fund to support resiliency efforts for low-and-moderate income homeowners ahead of future storms. The program will enable Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) to assist households that experience flood damage to make necessary repairs in the aftermath of storms and will cover the cost of proactive flood mitigation improvements. 

  • Creating the Blue Buffers Voluntary Buyout Program to encourage buyouts in communities most vulnerable to flooding. The program will prioritize outreach and education first and then begin identifying voluntary projects based on the level of flood risk, ensuring we protect our communities that are most vulnerable to high water and storm surges.  

  • Making major investments in statewide disaster response to put more boots on the ground, improve training and preparedness, and address evolving threats as they come.  

  • Update Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) Maps, which are essential to the protection of beaches, dunes, and bluffs that maintain and enhance flood resilience, so that communities and permit applicants quick quickly determine if a property is within a CEHA. 


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