Congressman Tim Bishop issued the following statement yesterday regarding the granting of a TRO for the Fire Island to Moriches Inlet project:
“The final Fire Island to Moriches Inlet Stabilization plan that was released by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service represents a carefully-crafted plan that received sign-off from every stakeholder involved in the project, which included agencies from the local, state and federal levels of government.
“The agencies, understanding that this element of helping vulnerable south shore communities continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy would require a great deal of cooperation and consultation, took time to ensure that changes were made to accommodate concerns legitimately raised throughout the public comment period. These changes included multiple modifications to protect Piping Plover habitat.
“Despite the reasoned and careful deliberation and drafting that went into the final plan, Audubon New York has chosen to ignore the collective wisdom of all of the stakeholders and instead has dug in its heels in an effort to get its own way. In so doing they are asserting that habitat protection trumps the safety and security of the residents living in Mastic Beach and other low-lying south shore communities. This is a position I simply cannot support.
“I believe the action of Audubon New York in this instance, particularly as the dredging contract was about to be awarded, is indefensible. I very much hope that the TRO will be removed so we can continue to move this critical project forward and get it back on the tight timeline it has been on since the spring.”