Legislators Must Fight Budget Cuts to Environmental Agencies
The Trump administration has proposed budget cuts to environmental agencies, such as the Environmental Protections Agency which has been working to resolve the water contamination in Hoosick Falls.
Albany County Legislator, William Reinhardt, expressed his concern stating that, “…voters must continue to do some urging themselves to encourage legislators to work against the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to environmental agencies, which would make interventions like the one at Hoosick Falls rare in the future.”
The EPA’s proposed budget for 2018 is a third less than what it is for this year, with the intent to return responsibility of local environmental expenses to state organizations.
New York’s senators have clearly expressed their opposition to the proposed cut. Congressman John Faso, R-Kinderhook, however, has yet to come forward. He has stated his disagreement with drastic cuts to the EPA but also expressed the need to the need to “get Washington spending under control.”
Reinhardt emphasized the need for a strong EPA to protect the public’s health, especially with the water quality challenges being faced across the Capital Region.
Read William Reinhardt’s letter to the editor here.
EPA Adds Saint-Gobain Site to Federal Superfund Clean-Up List
The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced in a news release this week that it has added the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site in the Village of Hoosick Falls to the Federal Superfund National Priorities List, which includes the nation’s most hazardous waste sites.
The agency’s decision will allow federal resources to be used to clean areas of Hoosick Falls that have been contaminated with PFOA and ensure that the health of village residents is protected.
The EPA’s designation will also allow the federal government to seek reimbursement from the companies that are responsible for the village’s contamination.
New York State Senator Charles Schumer stated, “I am glad that EPA has heeded our call to add this site to the Superfund list because it gives the EPA leverage to make the polluters pay and to set a protocol for investigation and clean-up.”
Since PFOA contamination was discovered in Hoosick Falls, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health, along with the EPA, have taken several steps to address the issue:
- In January 2016, the NYSDEC added the Saint-Gobain site to New York State’s Superfund list and requested that the EPA include the site on EPA’s federal Superfund list.
- In April and May 2016, the EPA installed monitoring wells to sample groundwater at and around the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility (McCaffrey Street facility) and sampled the Village water supply wells. The EPA also collected soil samples from the McCaffrey Street facility, Village ballfields and recreational areas.
- In June 2016, the NYSDEC entered into a legal agreement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation and Honeywell International Inc. and initiated a study of the nature and extent of contamination at the site.
- In September 2016, the EPA proposed adding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site to the federal Superfund list.
Faraci Lange attorneys, Stephen Schwarz and Hadley Matarazzo, are representing residents of Hoosick Falls in a lawsuit against Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International for the PFOA contamination their manufacturing plants caused.
“To the extent that it makes more resources available to the community to address the problem, we’re happy to see that happen, Hadley stated to the New York Law Journal.
Topics: Hoosick Falls Water Contamination
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