Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Schaghticoke) today criticized the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) handling of the water contamination issue in Hoosick Falls. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) previously set much more stringent requirements for the amount of PFOA allowed in drinking water than DOH. PFOA is a toxic chemical used in non-stick cookware.
DOH, which previously denied that the water posed a threat to residents, reversed its stance earlier this month and cautioned residents against drinking or cooking with the water. Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of DOH, testified yesterday about the situation.
“This is a serious situation that affects thousands of residents in Hoosick Falls,” McLaughlin said. “We need to know why state and federal regulations were so far apart, and Dr. Zucker has an obligation to provide us an explanation. Epitomizing the Cuomo Administration’s lack of transparency and accountability, he dodged questions about the situation at yesterday’s budget hearing and had his staff shield him from an onslaught of reporters after his testimony ended. Dr. Zucker’s actions were shameful and denigrating to the residents still struggling to access clean drinking water in Hoosick Falls.”
The EPA is currently considering establishing the Hoosick Falls area as a Superfund site, which would require the company responsible for the bulk of the pollution to fund an extensive clean-up.
"Right now the EPA is conducting an investigation to determine the source of the contamination and how widespread it actually is,” McLaughlin said. “Before we learn the results of the investigation, it would be premature of me to support or oppose a Superfund designation."
Assemblyman McLaughlin represents the 107th district, which consists of parts of Rensselaer, Columbia and Washington counties. For more information,
please visit Assemblyman McLaughlin’s Official Website