Government Affairs Albany Update
September 2, 2011
- DEC Waives Permitting Requirements
- Emergency Unemployment Benefits
- Resources for Business in the Wake of Hurricane Irene
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this week announced that the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are waiving permitting requirements for emergency repairs as result of Hurricane Irene, allowing community leaders and private landowners to directly respond to the need for waterfront, road and bridge stabilization, and emergency repairs.
The DEC is not requiring permits for emergency repairs and construction in any area that typically requires permits (coastal erosion areas, protected waterways, stream beds, riverbanks, wetlands, etc…). They recommend that the owners still consult with the local regional office to ensure that the project minimizes damage to natural resources. It is important to know that work completion in violation of the law, State, and or Federal, runs the risk of losing its Federal grant funding from FEMA. So please consult your DEC regional office before work commences.
The following are some phone numbers for the affected areas:
- The Schenectady Permitting office serves Albany, Columbia, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie and eastern Greene counties; (518) 357-2456
- Region 3 serves the Catskills and Lower Hudson Valley. Their number is (845) 256-3000
The DEC and APA staff have been in the field since the storm, addressing the critical needs of the people and the environment of the State. Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) and Rangers were assigned to provide staffing at State Office of Emergency Management (SEOM), New York City and County OEMs for impacted areas. DEC ECO and Ranger personnel and patrol vehicles continue to be deployed for rescue, transport and evacuation support in various localities in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, Capital Region and Adirondacks. Forest Rangers were assigned to assist with road closures, radio tower failures, state land assessments and equipment relays for other agencies. DEC boats and airboats were deployed for flooding assessment and rescue in localities throughout the affected areas.
As part of the broader disaster declaration related to Hurricane Irene, the State has been approved to issue Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits. These benefits are specifically targeted to those businesses and their employees where the disaster has interrupted business operations. DUA benefits do not impact an individual employer's experience rating and are intended to serve as a bridge for employees until the business can resume operations.
The Business Council has updated its website to provide a list of resources for our members, and all businesses across New York State, who have suffered damages in the wake of Hurricane Irene. We hope that these links will be helpful to those businesses that have incurred losses to their company from the storm.