Press Releases

East Shore Seawall Bill Rose’s First in Congress

Keeping commitment to fight for Staten Island, Congressman gives first speech on House floor calling for quick passage

Washington, January 9, 2019

Click HERE to view Rose’s inaugural floor speech.

Keeping his promise to fight for his district, Congressman Max Rose, an Army veteran, introduced legislation today to allow the construction of the East Shore Seawall—his first bill introduction in Congress. Following the introduction, Rose gave his inaugural speech on the House floor calling for swift passage of this measure.

“There’s no debate: climate change is real, storms are getting worse, and the East Shore Seawall will help protect the lives and livelihoods of Staten Islanders,” Rose said. “Everyone agrees the seawall needs to be built, and it needed to be built yesterday—and I commend Congressman Donovan for all of his work to get this project to where we are today. Let’s finally get this done.”

Rose’s legislation would authorize the easement for state and local governments to the lands needed for construction of the seawall, which is currently owned by the federal government as part of the Gateway National Recreational Area. Funding for construction has already been appropriated and authorized by the federal, state, and local governments.

“Six years later, the East Shore of Staten Island is still dealing with the effects of Superstorm Sandy. I never want our borough to experience that kind of devastation again,” Borough President Jim Oddo said. “That is why the Army Corps Seawall Project is one of the most important projects for the future of our borough. Each level of government must continue to do all in its power to remove every bureaucratic obstacle standing in the way of a completed line of protection on the East Shore.”

“Of all the work that is to be done to protect New Yorkers against future natural disasters, the East Shore Seawall is the most vital—and we must do everything we can to ensure it becomes reality,” City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo said. “This piece of legislation is critical, because it will grant the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city access to Gateway National Park so the seawall can be built and properly maintained to provide protection to Staten Island for generations to come.”

“Government red tape cannot get in the way of the vital seawall project,” New York Senator Andrew Lanza said. “The seawall has been talked about for decades and Hurricane Sandy made it all too clear that protection is needed with great urgency. The funding has been secured, the plans are in place. I thank Congressman Rose for working to advance legislation that will help keep this project on schedule.”

“Every day a shovel is not in the ground, it costs my constituents money,” Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said. “This easement is not only necessary to build the sea wall that will protect East Shore residents but until 50% of wall is built, homeowners will continue to see their federal flood insurance rates rise.”

To blunt future storms and prevent flooding along the East Shore, the Army Corps of Engineers have put together various proposals to protect New York City and specifically Staten Island, which involve building a series of levees, barriers, and gates around New York Bay to shield populated areas from storms coming off the Atlantic—including the East Shore Seawall as an integral part of the plan.

In 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit New York city, killing 53 people and causing $71 billion in damages. Staten Island was hit particularly hard, with 24 out of the 53 lives lost coming from the Island. The East Shore has remained at risk for flooding and future hurricanes, since it is essentially the first stop for any weather patterns moving inland from the Atlantic towards New York City.