Gov. Hochul sends letter to Army Corps asking to help rehab Suffolk beaches

Local leaders say more needs to be done after Gov. Kathy Hochul called on the Army Corps of Engineers to help the South Shore of Suffolk County after Tuesday’s storm.

Jon Dowding

Jan 12, 2024, 4:06 AM

Updated 190 days ago

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Local leaders say more needs to be done after Gov. Kathy Hochul called on the Army Corps of Engineers to help the South Shore of Suffolk County after Tuesday’s storm.
Gov. Hochul sent a letter Thursday to the Army Corps asking for emergency rehab assistance for Suffolk County’s South Shore beaches. The hope is that help for the barrier island beaches could lessen flooding on the mainland.
Lacey Rutter, of Babylon, says she’s gotten used to her street flooding and stranding her home for days, even during a regular rain storm.
She says waking up Wednesday morning and seeing the flooding wasn't suprising.
"We knew that we were going to be, more or less, stranded,” she said. "I had to wade out across the neighbors yard to get to my car to go to my appointment and it was the following day. There was absolutely no wind, like it was sunny and the water was still that high."
Luckily for Rutter, she just got a few inches of water in her garage and basement.
As News 12 has reported, many others weren’t so lucky.
Even with the announcement of Hochul’s letter Thursday evening, many local leaders say more direct action to get federal assistance needs to be taken.
Brookhaven Town Councilman Neil Foley represents areas including Patchogue and Fire Island. He's one of many Long Island leaders who wants the governor to declare a state of emergency.
"We need funding yesterday,” he said. "By her declaring a state of emergency, it will cut red tape with the DEC. It will cut red tape with a lot of different issues with permits. Why not? I mean, this is a state of emergency."
Without the help for residents, he warns it could force some residents to move away. Rutter says it’s something she’s thought about over the years.
"At some point, it's like, when do you make a choice when you're like, 'I can't live here anymore because if it's going to keep happening, then it’s going to get worse,’” she said.
When asked if a state of emergency will be declared, Gov. Hochul's office told News 12, "We are continuing to assess the damage from this week's extreme weather and will aggressively fight for every federal dollar we are eligible for."
Foley says he does remain optimistic because he says all levels of government have recognized the urgent need for help. It’s something he says he’s spent the last six to eight weeks discussing with county, state and federal leaders.
The question of whether help gets to the South Shore before the next storm still remains.


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