Monday, July 03, 2006

More on Fitzpatrick and Flooding

Have you seen those commercials where a group of people are standing around a piece of trash on the ground, and pontificating about what needs to be done to clean it up, and someone else comes along, picks it up, throws it in a nearby trash can and walks away? I love it. Mostly because I think it is very illustrative of how much of life works. You have people who talk up a storm and people who get things done and there is seldom any overlap.

I thought of that commercial again when I saw this quote from an article on Sunday's ("Fitzpatrick calls for hearings," by Elizabeth Fisher)

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick wants answers.

So he’s calling for a series of congressional hearings to gather information on the causes of frequent flooding in Bucks County and to find ways to prevent or lessen their impact.

Speaking in the aftermath of a visit by Gov. Ed Rendell to Lower Makefield Saturday, Fitzpatrick, R-8, said he wants to question representatives from the Delaware River Basin Commission and any other state or federal agency that can provide answers so desperately needed by flood victims.

I thought it was especially interesting in light of this from a recent press release of his:

I am in close contact with local, state, and federal authorities as well as the Delaware River Basin Commission for up-to-date information on the state of the river and what needs to be done to ensure that our residents are protected.

The Delaware River Basin Commission has, on its web site a 96 page comprehensive plan dated 2001. I wonder how many of the PA-related goals have been implemented. There is also a lengthy report from 2004 on flow management issues.

I would also like to note this from Mid-Atlantic River Basins

New Delaware River Task Force -- On October 25, 2005, Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8th), working cooperatively with the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Delaware River Basin Commission, continued his leadership in addressing environmental concerns impacting the Delaware River by launching a reinvigorated Delaware River Basin Task Force. ... Serving along with Representative Fitzpatrick as co-chairs will be Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-New York), Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ)

Let me get this straight -- he co-chairs the Delaware River Basin Task Force. He was in constant contact with the Delaware River Basin Commission. And, now, after a major flood, he's standing around calling for congressional hearings? He's been in constant contact with the DRBC but now he needs congressional hearings to make them answer questions? Why hasn't his task force, co-chaired with Rep. Jim Gerlach, asked these questions before now?

I still like the "pick it up and go on" approach. Patrick Murphy, who is running against Fitzpatrick, had his staff shift from fundraising to flood relief and was actively involved himself. At the end of a fundraising quarter, for a candidate challenging an incumbent, this must have been a difficult choice.


Austin in PA said...

Here's a link for some info on floodplain research being done out of our own Temple U.
They're (actually the Center for Sustainable Communities located at Temple Ambler), creating new floodplain maps for the Pennypack Creek watershed. Initial results show a much larger 100-yr floodplain than was previously mapped. There was also an article in this month's American Planning Assoc journal on the study.
Timely and of real concern for the whole region.

Yardley Borough Task Force said...

Hi, I'm working on a Yardley Borough taskforce to look into the impact of the NY resevoir spillage during the 2 most recent floods. I have learned from the Del. River Water Basin Commission(DRBC) that the spillage could have attributed up to 2 feet of the water that decimated many towns along the Delaware. We are of the belief that something, other than just the rainfall, has contributed to the extremely high water levels that we've been experiencing for the first time since 1955.
After 1955, many dams were built along the rivers and creeks leading to the Delaware to prevent a repeat flood of that magnitude, and the River has been rather tame since then. Our flood water comes from NY where land development is light. We are convinced that during the last two floods, when the DRBC kept maximum levels of water in 2 of the resevoirs, the spillage (which goes into the Delaware)significantly contributed to the flood damage. We learned that, around the time of the first of the last two floods, the water levels in the resevoirs were at maximum. We also learned that another of the NY resevoirs was under construction and may bed the reason for elevating the levels of the remaining resevoirs, however the DRBC is admitting to nothing of the sort!
Anyone with pertinent info, pls respond- The people here need your help. We are not activists, we just want our homes and families protected.