Crespo: Another Season of Destructive Storms Nears and NYS Not Ready to Protect Flood Zones

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo calls for immediate action on commission to fast track work to protect NYS shorelines and improve flood insurance system as another season of pending storms arrives

Albany, New York – Today Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and member of the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, announced he has introduced legislation that will prioritize New York’s slow work to protect its shoreline and flood prone communities from the threat of severe storms and rising ocean levels. The legislation creates the New York State Temporary Commission on the Threat of Rising Oceans.

According to Assemblyman Crespo, “For centuries, people living in Scandinavian countries, with vastly less wealth and without modern technologies, held back the Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland from destroying their homes, cities and arable lands. Yet, six years after Superstorm Sandy and its $60 billion dollars in damage to New York and New Jersey; where water filtration plants, sewage treatment plants and other critical infrastructure were destroyed; where the national guard had to be deployed to evacuate trapped elderly in nursing homes; where communication networks became inoperable including FEMA’s command center HQ for the region, New York State remains as ill-prepared for the next severe weather related disaster and for the imminent threat of rising ocean levels due to global warming.”

The Temporary State Commission proposed by Crespo is tasked with producing a list of recommendations ranging on how to protect New York’s shorelines from rising ocean levels to how to strengthen the federal flood insurance program to protect property in the new flood zones created after Superstorm Sandy. These new flood zones now include more homes and property and people than ever before.

The Temporary State Commission is also charged with looking at what other countries have done to protect life and property from rising oceans and recommend on whether those strategies and major infrastructure investments will help protect New Yorkers. The Commission must issue its findings and recommendations by March 1, 2019 and all members of the 17 member commission must be appointed within 30 days of the legislation being signed into law.

In March of 2013, Assemblyman Crespo released a study on the rising rate of tornadoes impacting New York State and found that 69% of 407 tornadoes impacting New York State had occurred since 1986. “Tornadoes Rising: The Increasing Rate of Tornadoes in New York State – An Overview of their Frequency and Destruction” lead to six (6) laws authored by Crespo on disaster preparedness, including:

  • Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2013 - Requires the public service commission to develop recommendations regarding the establishment of microgrids to protect hospitals, water filtration and sewage treatment plants and nursing homes from power failures;
  • Chapter 221 of the Law 2013: Includes not-for-profit organizations with a mission to assist in disaster relief and recovery for collaboration purposes for microgrid recommendations;
  • Chapter 379 Laws of 2013: Required the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to study and report on the feasibility of a new tornado warning system for New York State, including the use of sirens;
  • Chapter 233 of the Laws of 2016: Provides for the reduction of property/casualty insurance premiums on residential real property when the insured occupant completed a homeowner natural disaster preparedness home safety and loss prevention course;
  • Chapter 403 of the Laws of 2016: Established the School Energy Efficiency Collaborative Act of 2016 to facilitate schools switch to alternative energy sources and reduce reliance on fossil fuels while maintaining backup power;
  • Chapter 381 of the Laws of 2017: Requires a study on the feasibility of implementing an emergency alert notification system on streaming video services to protect consumer during storms and emergencies; and
  • Pending Assembly Action/Passed Senate: A.4207-A: Creates the "disaster preparedness and emergency planning act"; authorizes a local sales tax exemption for emergency preparedness supplies.