Post-Irene rules on stream work in NY, Vt. expire

By MICHAEL HILL | September 30, 2011 | 3:00 PM EDT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Special rules that allow emergency work on ravaged waterways in Vermont and New York are expiring.

After Tropical Storm Irene ripped through the Northeast, Vermont allowed oral instead of written consent for emergency work. New York waived normal permit rules for work that addressed "an imminent threat."

Officials in both states said the steps were necessary to quickly help small towns left crippled, isolated and fretting about weakened culverts and bridges.

Vermont officials say verbal authorizations will only be allowed now in emergency cases where there is imminent danger. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's post-Irene emergency declaration is expiring Saturday.

Local highway crews say they are working as quickly and carefully. Some environmentalists and scientists fear river-altering projects are damaging streams and could end up making future flooding worse.