Monday, November 15, 2004

Contact Your New York State Senator

Please take immediate action to protect New York's threatened wetlands. Wetlands are vital resources for all New Yorkers - they maintain clean drinking water, prevent flooding, and protect habitat for ducks fish and other wildlife. Yet, the federal government has stopped regulating "isolated" wetlands, or those that are not connected by surface waters to waters of the U.S., and in most circumstances the state only regulates wetlands that are 12.4 acres and above. This means that many of New York's wetlands are entirely unprotected. Imagine, for a moment, if you were I working in "contract archaeology" as I do or have for many companies in New York State. From Fort Drum, to Montauk Point I have seen small wetlands often the only reason they are tested for legally ordered archaeological significance. As you may know, many wetlands under 12 acres are not on maps, and cannot be tested and lands, once wetlands, are discovered from their underlying soils, perhaps creating unsafe building foundations. I have also seen areas marked wetlands in our neighbor, New Jersey, turned into office parks, though cited as wetlands by the US Army Corps of Engineers! New Jersey has an office in Trenton that evaluates all the maps ever drawn in NJ to see who is living on "made land" illegally in former wetlands and goes after them for taxes due! I also worked for the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission. Don't get me started! I strongly support the Clean Water Protection/Flood Prevent Act, S.4480-a, sponsored by Senator Marcellino. This act would better protect New York's wetlands by reducing the size threshold for state regulation to one acre and ensuring that wetland status is determined by scientific criteria not the state's wetlands map. This bill has passed the Assembly and has broad based support in the Senate. There is no reason to continue to delay the passage of this bill. Instead, I respectfully request that you personally ask Senator Bruno to schedule this bill for a vote when the Senate returns to Albany November 18th. Sincerely, George J. Myers, Jr. BA Anthropology

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