For Immediate Release: June 13, 2016
Legislators, Advocates Call for Senate Passage of Hoosick Falls Legislation
Bill would extend statute of limitations to recover from polluters
Albany – With just days to go in the 2016 Legislative Session, Assemblymember John McDonald (D-Cohoes), Senator Kathy Marchione (R-Halfmoon), advocates, and a resident of Hoosick Falls urged Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to bring bipartisan legislation to a vote that will enable residents of Hoosick Falls and other Superfund communities to recover the costs of their medical bills.
Currently, an expired statute of limitations prevents most residents from filing personal injury actions because the cause of their decades-long health problems has only recently become known. The bill (A9568A/S6824A), which overwhelmingly passed the Assembly by a vote of 132-7, allows those harmed by contaminants at a Superfund site to bring personal injury claims against the polluter up to three years after that site is designated a Superfund site.
Hoosick Falls residents, as well as residents in other communities like Petersburgh, are slowly receiving information about their health; just 10 days ago, residents began to receive the results of blood tests that continue to show elevated levels of PFOA in more than 2,000 people.
Without state Senate passage of this legislation, residents who became sick from PFOA years ago will be unable to bring personal injury claims against the polluters responsible. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the year on Thursday, June 16th.
Assemblymember John McDonald said, “I encourage the Senate to join with the Assembly to ensure that residents of areas such as Hoosick Falls and other designated Superfund sites are able to preserve their rights where they were harmed. This is right and just due to the nature of these proceedings including the lengthy time frames to reach this designation, and it is therefore appropriate that residents have three years to review their personal situation if there is harm.”
Senator Kathy Marchione said, “I sponsored this bi-partisan legislative remedy because there shouldn't be a time limit on justice for Hoosick Falls families. This measure is a practical, necessary step to help ensure that Hoosick Falls residents can pursue civil justice. Since I partnered with Assemblymember McDonald, passage of this bill, this session, has been one of my top legislative priorities. We need to get this done so Hoosick Falls families have the extra time they need – and deserve – to fully explore and pursue their legal remedies.”
Michele Baker, Mom and Hoosick Falls resident said, “We have been living in fear and anger since finding out our drinking water was full of PFOA. My family and I, and many, many more have been drinking this contaminated water for possibly decades, and more than 2,000 neighbors of mine have tested positive for this potential carcinogen. It’s terrifying to think of the consequences to our health. This legislation is very meaningful for us because this happened to our families and to our town, and we deserve the right to hold polluters accountable.”
Liz Moran, water and natural resources associate said, “Many residents in Hoosick Falls have been sick for years with no idea what could be causing their illnesses. Now that they have learned that the culprit was chemical contamination, they deserve compensation for their medical expenses. This is a moral issue, and we applaud Assemblyman John McDonald and Senator Kathy Marchione for their legislation to protect them, and all those who live in Superfund sites. With just days to go before legislators leave Albany for the year, the Senate – in particular Majority Leader John Flanagan – must allow a vote and give folks a fair chance at legal justice.”