McLAUGHLIN WINS ASSEMBLY DEMS SUPPORT FOR HEARINGS ON ‘CUOMO’S LOVE CANAL’
After gaining support from key Assembly Democrats to convene, April hearing dates are set
Last Friday, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Troy) spoke with two key Assembly Democrats about initiating legislative hearings into the ongoing Hoosick Falls water crisis. The purpose of such hearings would be for the Assembly to question local, state and federal officials and gather all facts into the biggest environmental and health crisis, and potential cover-up, that’s rocked New York State in the last decade.
Late Wednesday, McLaughlin’s calls for convening a hearing were answered when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) announced that he is now planning April meetings to examine water crisis issues, led by the Assembly Health and Environmental Conservation committees, respectively.
“Protecting the safety of New Yorkers and monitoring governmental oversight is a unifying issue,” said McLaughlin. “The people of Hoosick Falls deserve clean water, but they also deserve the truth. These hearings will shed light on who knew what, and when they knew it.
“We have the right to know why the State first determined that there were no expected health effects from normal use of the water supply, and then just weeks later announce the area would become a State Superfund Site because the water is so badly contaminated.
“Whether this is gross mismanagement, incompetence or a cover-up, the truth will be exposed and residents will have answers. I expect that Governor Cuomo and his top officials will be nothing but honest at this bipartisan hearing.
“I thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, and Assemblyman Steve Englebright for their swift action in scheduling these hearings and getting to the bottom of this. They have shown the type of leadership that Gov. Cuomo has not.”
On Tuesday, Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan said hearings would most likely not take place anytime soon.
“I strongly urge and am hopeful that Senator Flanagan will correct course, join Speaker Heastie and the Assembly and hold hearings on this critical issue. It’s the right thing to do and in the best interest of the health, safety and well-being of New Yorkers.”
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) advised residents that “normal use of the water” was not expected to cause adverse health effects on December 10. The DOH issued its clearance despite a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warning in November to town leaders that the water was not safe to drink. Just weeks later, Hoosick Falls was designated a State Superfund site by Gov. Cuomo and other state leaders.
“Gov. Cuomo claims he directed his departments to err on the side of being over-protective,” McLaughlin said. “But, he failed to get involved until after the EPA issued directives against consuming water. How is it Cuomo is outraged the water at Indian point is still 1,000 times below federal radioactivity levels while Hoosick Falls water is 4 to 5 times higher than safe EPA levels and he still will not support a call for hearings? His apathy toward the safety of Hoosick Falls residents while at the same time calling for a shutdown of Indian Point is disconcerting and inconsistent leadership. This is quite possibly the biggest health catastrophe in New York State history, and it all came under Cuomo’s watch.”
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