For Immediate Release: January 12, 2018
2+ Years Later, Hoosick Falls Residents and Allies, Including Erin Brockovich, Continue Their Call for Clean Drinking Water
Over 100 Hoosick Falls residents, labor, health, and environmental organizations sign letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
Albany, NY – Today, Hoosick Falls residents and allies gathered in the State Capitol to demand a new source of clean drinking water for Hoosick Falls. As more than two years have passed since the Hoosick Falls PFOA contamination crisis came to light, over 100 area residents and organizations, which include SEIU Local 200 United, Citizen Action of New York, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice and others, have joined together in the name of clean water. In a letter to the Environmental Protection (EPA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), they stated that after years of pain and harm caused by exposure to polluted drinking water, residents can’t afford to wait any longer for a new, clean source of PFOA-free water to make Hoosick Falls whole again.
Additionally, signatories called for a transparent, participatory and democratic cleanup process that fully informs and involves the Hoosick Falls community. They note that the State and Federal Superfund process for the community will require many decisions that will have long-term impacts on the daily lives of residents and business owners, and that there must be ample opportunities for them to weigh-in on these decisions.
Michele Baker, Hoosick Falls resident and member of the NYWaterProject said, “Enough is enough! Families have waited more than two years for a clean drinking water source. Every day we’re forced to drink filtered poison, and every day we wonder if our families will get sick because of years of contamination. No one should have to live in fear of the water they drink. It’s unacceptable how our government and the polluters are dragging their feet. This is a public health crisis that has regrettably gotten bogged down with red tape. The time has come to stand up and demand clean safe drinking water, and hold those responsible accountable.”
Cathy Dawson, Hoosick Falls resident and member of the NYWaterProject said, “The wealthy PFOA polluters have shown us their true colors by shying away from cleaning up their mess and helping us achieve the most basic of rights: clean drinking water. And our elected leaders are content to kick the can down the road – it’s been more than two years and we continue to drink from a contaminated water source. Let me be clear: a filter is not good enough. We need to hold the polluters – St. Gobain and Honeywell – responsible and move on with our lives. Anything short of that is unacceptable.”
Lois Gibbs of the National Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) said, “I signed on to the letter to the EPA and DEC in support of the Hoosick Falls residents’ right to have safe and clean drinking water — not filtered water. There will always be a risk of having a filter breakdown, resulting in people being exposed again to poisoned water. The polluters should provide the residents with a clean source of surface water.”
Gibbs, known as the “Mother of Superfund,” was the community leader who successfully organized the cleanup and community relocation away from the Love Canal toxic waste site in Niagara Falls, NY, which led to the creation of the Federal Superfund.
Anne Rabe, member of the Community Concerned About NL Industries said, “To remediate in the true sense of the word is to restore, put right, and make whole a community devastated by toxic pollution. We are here today in solidarity and support of the Hoosick Falls residents, to ask that the EPA and the DEC ensure the polluters do everything possible to fully clean up their toxic legacy, and provide the community with safe and clean drinking water. It is also important for the agencies to provide meaningful public participation throughout the cleanup process, including the establishment of a Community Advisory Group.”
Dr. David Carpenter, Director for the Institute for Health and the Environment at SUNY Albany said, “PFOA is a very dangerous chemical and many of the diseases that result from being exposed, like cancer, will only develop years later. We must not only prevent exposure but also monitor people who have already come into contact with PFOA so as to catch diseases at an early and treatable stage. To ensure no one in Hoosick Falls is at risk of getting sick again, residents must get a new water source. Residents deserve surety they’ll be safe.”
Dr. Howard A. Freed, former Director of the New York State Department of Health's Center for Environmental Health said, “The people of Hoosick Falls were contaminated with PFOA without their knowledge or consent. Filtering out PFOA from a known contaminated drinking water source is subject to human error. Like everyone else, the people of Hoosick Falls deserve a drinking water source free of PFOA.”
Liz Moran, Water and Natural Resources Director for Environmental Advocates of New York said, “Ever since their water contamination crisis came to light, residents of Hoosick Falls have stood up to polluters and fought for healthy, clean drinking water. Clean water shouldn’t be an elusive luxury – unfortunately, for the residents of Hoosick Falls, it is. After more than two years of fighting, residents shouldn’t have to wait a day longer to feel secure in their own homes. That’s why we’re appealing to our state and federal leaders to help New Yorkers feel safe when they turn on the tap.”
- Signatories called for the following actions to be taken as part of environmental remediation and restoration for the Hoosick Falls Superfund Site:
- All homeowners with private wells should be strongly encouraged to connect to the municipal water system, with the hook-up cost covered by the polluters included in the Feasibility Study and Record of Decision.
- Polluters should be required to offer market value buy-outs and provide property value compensation payments for homes with contaminated water.
- The Feasibility Study Work Plan should be immediately released to the public, if it has not been already, with a descriptive fact sheet and a 90-day public comment period on the Work Plan.
- A comprehensive and transparent Public Participation Plan for the Hoosick Falls community should be established, along with a Community Advisory Group (CAG).
- A Federal Superfund Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) and a DEC Environmental Justice grant should be awarded to the New York Water Project, a Hoosick Falls community group.
Max Oppen: 518-698-7447
Dan Morris: 917-952-8920
Michele Baker, Hoosick Falls Resident: 518-461-7270
Cathy Dawson, Hoosick Falls Resident: 518-268-9266
Anne Rabe, Community Concerned About NL Industries: 518-465-3524
Lois Gibbs, Center for Health, Environment & Justice: 703-237-2249
Dr. David Carpenter, Institute for Health & the Environment: 518-525-2660