Village of Middleburgh takes city and state agencies to task for flood response

Matthew Avitabile, the mayor of the tiny Schoharie County village of Middleburgh, wants answers about last year's flood response from the powerful city and state agencies that operate two vast dams above the village.

Today, the village sent out a press release announcing that they had written to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which runs the Gilboa Dam, and the New York Power Authority, which runs the Blenheim-Gilboa Dam, below New York City's dam.

The press release:

The Village of Middleburgh believes that there need to be answers from some New York State and City agencies over their role before and during last year's flooding. Letters have been sent to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection that runs the Gilboa Dam, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the NYS Power Authority. The letters ask if proper procedure had been followed and if there were plans in motion that could prevent another disaster from occurring.

"We owe this to the volunteers and flood victims," said Mayor Avitabile. "Their efforts have brought us back-- we need to make sure
that the same is being given from these larger agencies." In particular, Middleburgh wants to find out if procedure had been followed by the Power Authority when it allegedly let water out of its earthen dam in Blenheim.

The letter in part reads, "Middleburgh and its surrounding communities request that your organization review flood and emergency protocol to ensure that future events do not approach the level of damage of Irene and Lee."

"I hope that this is a precedent for the other municipalities and the County to follow," the Mayor said.

In January, the New York Power Authority hosted a community question-and-answer session about their flood response, in which officials claimed the NYPA dam actually prevented flooding from being worse than it was. The Watershed Post was on hand to liveblog, and several media outlets covered the event. Here's the Schenectady Daily Gazette's story.

Below: The text of a letter sent by the village of Middleburgh to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Letters were also sent to the New York Power Authority, NYC Mayor Michael Blomberg, FEMA and the New York State Office of Emergency Management.

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