Hearings continue as EPA proposes Hoosick Falls a federal Superfund site
ALBANY--"What's offensive to the people of Hoosick Falls, just so you all know that are sitting right there denying anything went wrong here, what's offensive is that for 18 months they were not told that their water was tainted," said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin.
Emotions over water contamination in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh came to a boiling point Wednesday at the second state hearing. Assemblymen Steve McLaughlin sounded off at the Department of Health Commissioner.
"Would you have let your mother drink that water for 18 months?" McLaughlin asked the Commissioner.
At the heart of the hearing were questions trying to determine what the state knew and when.
"Why didn't you just immediately say 'look, we don't really know what this stuff is or does yet but we're going to find out and until then we want you on bottled water.'" McLaughlin said.
But like in the first state hearing last week in Hoosick Falls, tonight DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker shifted blame to the federal EPA - which again had no representatives in attendance. Zucker argued that the agency gave changing and conflicting safety guidelines.
"The inconsistencies at the end of 2015 caused the confusion that we had and they didn't bring anything to us saying we should issue a do not drink order," Zucker said.
"I can't understand for the life of me when you talk about this confusion. The EPA came out with do not drink the water in 2015, and the DOH and their fact sheet said it's ok to drink - after!" said Senator John DeFrancisco.
The Commissioner maintains that DOH has been active in both Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh throughout the water crisis.
"We were out there 3 times a week, we had town meetings in the village armory, we worked with the community, there are many times we worked closely with the mayor," Zucker said.
"As you can see I don't think the members up here are quite buying the fact that DOH holds no responsibility in this," said McLaughlin.