Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityPublic speaks out during Hoosick Falls water hearing | WRGB
Close Alert

Public speaks out during Hoosick Falls water hearing

11P TU HOOSICK FALLS WATER MON VO_8_30_2016_10_59_18 PM
11P TU HOOSICK FALLS WATER MON VO_8_30_2016_10_59_18 PM
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

HOOSICK FALLS -- "I think that we worked extremely hard on this and I'm extremely proud of the team," said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.

"This comes right from the heart of our town: Mr. Zucker you are the devil," said Hoosick Falls resident Loreen Hackett.

Hoosick Falls residents up in arms over PFOA contaminated water in their neighborhoods didn't hold back Tuesday at the first State Senate hearing on the crisis.

"This should be about corporate pollution, but from my perspective it's not. Today, for me, it's about the horribly sluggish state response to this crisis," said Hoosick Falls resident Robert Allen.

Again, they asked government officials the questions they've been wanting answers to for too long: who knew what when?

"Nobody's done their job," Hackett said.

Some found the hearing to be nothing more than a blame game.

"All I've heard today is bounce the ball back and forth," Hackett said.

Specifically between the DOH, that had members in attendance and the Federal EPA that did not.

"The EPA first learned about PFOA concerns in 2001 and they waited until 2009 to set an advisory level, not a regulation," Zucker said.

The DOH Commissioner argued the EPA had changing and conflicting safety guidelines.

"That exacerbated the situation in Hoosick Falls by confusing state and local officials," Zucker said.

Though not at the hearing, EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck was quick to fire back in an interview with us.

"The State Health Department was not confused at all. They simply disagreed," Enck said.

Senator Kathy Marchione expressed disappointment that not a single representative showed from the EPA, but the agency says it typically only attends federal hearings.

"There are important questions for the EPA to address and answer and I believe it's a disservice that they're not here," she said.

The Senators at the hearing say in addition to finding out what went wrong, they want to create a better plan for handling future crises, so that residents like Robert Allen no longer need to pray for their PFOA contaminated children.

"Dear Lord, please help Emma sleep, get rest, grow strong, and be cleansed of PFOA," Allen said.

Comment bubble

At the hearings, the DOH announced it is calling on the EPA to reimburse the state on any costs it's not able to regain from the polluters - Saint Gobain, Honeywell, and Taconic Plastics. The Commissioner says those costs have already exceeded $25 million dollars and he expects that number to keep growing.

Loading ...