Press-Republican

In My Opinion

December 20, 2011

In My Opinion: Congress urged to preserve gauges

All of the Champlain Valley communities that suffered flooding during this spring's snowmelt and those damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in September could be better prepared the next time such a disaster threatens homes.

But congressional budget cuts are threatening to shut down the U.S. Geological Survey's local stream and river gauges — our only early warning system for floods. That would increase the danger to local people, homes and businesses.

This is happening at a time when higher year-round temperatures are driving up the frequency and severity of big storms.

Congressman Bill Owens of Plattsburgh was the first to sound the alarm on this problem, sending a letter this summer urging the USGS to restore the funding.

While the USGS did manage to keep them open past the Oct. 1 start of the 2011-12 federal fiscal year, it still lacks the funding to keep them open beyond March 2012.

Clearly, we need more help, from both sides of the lake and beyond.

There are nine stream/river gauges slated to close in the northern Adirondack Park. Statewide, there are 21 more due to shut down in March 2012, ranging from the lower Hudson River to the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. Six more on Long Island closed in March.

The Adirondack Council and local leaders are urging Congress and the Obama administration to replace the tiny federal appropriation that would eliminate this threat. Cuts like these should be unthinkable in the Adirondack Park. They would degrade public safety far beyond the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain.

The USGS is not a well-known agency. But if you have ever heard a weather forecaster warn you that a river was about to rise over its banks, you have benefited from its work. If you ever wondered how New York proves to federal regulators that it is reducing the amount of pollution entering Lake Champlain, the answer is USGS research and data.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
In My Opinion
  • In My Opinion Follow Vt. lead on prescription drugs

    Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin recently called attention to a national crisis when he dedicated his entire State of the State message to address what he called Vermont's "full-blown heroin crisis," writes John Coppola of New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Inc.

    March 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Rail companies must take action

    I write to commend emergency response officials in Essex County for taking a proactive approach to the increasing number of freight trains carrying crude oil through our communities on the Canadian Pacific line, as described in the Feb, 23 article, "Essex County developing disaster-response plans as rail traffic grows," writes Rep. Bill Owens.

    March 4, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Communal energy conservation urged

    Recently, several articles appeared in the Press-Republican about the City of Plattsburgh's electric rates and energy policies, writes SUNY Plattsburgh assistant professor Curt Gervich.

    March 3, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Support gave boost to broadcasting

    As many of you know, this is my 40th and final year of broadcasting Plattsburgh State Cardinal Hockey, writes WIRY broadcaster Ducky Drake.

    February 20, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Prison closures will increase danger

    In January, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision released its annual report on the state of New York's prisons, writes NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe.

    February 18, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Everyone must commit to end smoking

    Smoking-related illnesses will cause 5.6 million children alive today to die prematurely unless smoking rates drop, the latest Surgeon General's Report says, write no-smoking advocates Glenn Pareira and Kendra Gertsch.

    February 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: The right approach to youth sports

    Another youth basketball season is upon us, writes Town of Ellenburg Youth Director Chris Brooks. Local counties do a great job of organizing these leagues for our children to be able to participate and learn skills at a young age.

    January 8, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Fair evacuation plan needs review

    A year has come and gone with another great professional job done by our Clinton County Fair management, putting on its best yet entertainment.

    January 7, 2014

  • In My Opinion: New care models for aging population

    Our communities are experiencing a growing percentage of older residents, who are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to health-care decisions, according to the administrators of local nursing homes.

    December 24, 2013

  • In My Opinion: Respect diversity of gender November is Transgender Awareness Month across the United States -- a time to celebrate the diversity of gender that many Americans, and especially many New Yorkers, share.

    November 25, 2013