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DEC public hearing on new Tappan Zee Bridge draws nobody

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Albany/HV: DEC public hearing on new Tappan Zee Bridge draws nobody
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The environmental impact of building a new Tappan Zee Bridge is the focus of public hearing in Rockland County. However, as our Christian Farrell reports, Wednesday evening, the public wasn't present.

NANUET, N.Y. -- The chairs were in place. The microphone stand at the ready. But this Rockland County hotel conference room was conspicuously empty Wednesday evening.

The state DEC had scheduled a public hearing on the new Tappan Zee Bridge Project, but not a single person signed up to speak.

"I think we've kept our eye on the ball here. The fact that we've had only a modest amount of public input is, I think, indicative of the fact that we probably finely calibrated what we've done," said Ed McTierrnan of the state's department of environmental conservation.

To date, there have been more than 400 public meetings on the new bridge with the nearly $4 billion price tag. Construction on the massive project is expected to start by the end of the year. It's expected to take five years to complete.

"We've published a draft permit that's been out for review and we're soliciting comments. And once we get those comments, we'll be in a position to make some final decisions," said McTiernan.

Although absent Wednesday evening, the environmental group Riverkeeper presented YNN with a statement expressing concerns about the project's impact on the Hudson River, It said, "Key among our outstanding concerns is that the state needs to make a commitment to certify that the project will comply with all water quality standards and ensure that monitoring and reporting requirements are clearly spelled out."

The next public hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Tarrytown. According to officials from Riverkeeper, they'll be there.

The deadline for written comment is February 18th.

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