At its Wednesday meeting, the Rockland County Legislature’s Environmental Committee unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the New York State Assembly and State Senate pass a bill enacting the.
Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell said that back in 2009, the legislature passed a resolution asking both houses to pass bills that would create the bi-state act.
“What’s different now is New Jersey actually enacted it,” said Alden Wolfe, Environmental Committee chair.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill on Jan. 20 of this year. It would create a commission with members from both states to deal with the flooding issues near state lines, including the Hackensack River, Sparkill Brook/Creek, Saddle River, Ramapo/Mahwah River and their watersheds across the interstate border region
“I was very pleased that New Jersey did pass, but I’m embarrassed they passed it before New York did,” said Phil Bosco, of the Rockland Coalition for Sustainable Water.
Bosco said he brought up the idea to the legislature on May 4, 2007. He and Bob Dillon also of the Rockland Coalition for Sustainable Water, formed Rockland Residents Against Flooding Tomorrow (R.A.F.T.).
Dillon couldn’t be at the meeting, but sent a letter to the legislature.
“As you know, in 2009 the Rockland County Legislature unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the Rockland Bergen Bi-State River Commission,” he wrote. “Hopefully on this attempt the NYS Legislature will pass the bill and Governor [Andrew] Cuomo will sign it into law.”
Bosco said he heard part of the holdup is because Cuomo doesn’t want any new commissions. He added that “we’re talking about getting in place the power of four U.S. senators and about a dozen congressmen to work with United Water” and a number of other organizations.
He said he thinks it would a great thing to get everyone in a room so they could sit and talk about how to best help the residents of both areas.
According to the resolution, the next step is for the Clerk to the Legislature to send a copy of the resolution to Cuomo, New York State Sen. David Carlucci, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and other state officials.