New reports reveal hazardous dams throughout New York; Gillibrand calls on congress to help fix them

Up to the Minute

From the office of Senator Gillibrand:

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today called on Congress to immediately begin addressing aging dam infrastructure in New York and across the country.

This comes following a recent report that found over 1,680 dams in the United States are classified as high-hazard potential dams in poor condition. There are approximately 90 dams near communities throughout New York that are classified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as “unsound.”

The failure of a high hazard potential dam could cost human lives and result in significant property loss due to major flooding.

Gillibrand today called on Senate leadership to update dam safety programs in New York and across the country, and to increase federal funding for dam rehabilitation projects.

Dams are integral parts of communities across our state, used for everything from drinking water and irrigation, to flood control and fire protection, to recreation and hydropower,” said Senator Gillibrand, member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “However, when a dam is old and in need of rehabilitation and repair, it could breach and possibly cause widespread or serious damage to nearby families, homes, and businesses. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to provide more funding for federal dam safety programs, so that our local communities, dam owners, and state and local governments can make critical improvements to dams. We also need to update federal standards to ensure that dams are resilient and safe. I will always fight to ensure that our water infrastructure is safe and up to date.”

Gillibrand urged leadership on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to immediately address dam infrastructure by updating federal dam safety programs in the next Water Resources Development Act to help make dams more resilient in the face of extreme weather.

She also pushed for the Rehabilitation of High-Hazard Potential Dam Grant Program to be fully funded, which would help states, local communities and other dam owners make necessary repairs to aging and deteriorating dams.

Although the High-Hazard Potential Dam Grant program was authorized at $40 million, Congress has only provided $10 million for this critical program.

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