HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Communities in the middle of the PFOA contamination crisis are taking matters into their own hands.
Outrage erupted on Facebook when the New York State Assembly canceled its public hearings on the PFOA crisis.
“We all learned right from wrong a long time ago, and what’s going on here is wrong,” Kathy Lingener, of Hoosick Falls, said.
The reaction on social media prompted Lingener to share an online petition.
“We’re pretty small potatoes compared to the state – so easily swept under the rug because we’re so small – so we need to stand up,” she said.
Her petition calls for legislative public hearings. In two days, it’s garnered more than 100 signatures.
“It’s sad to read it because you’ll see comments like ‘I have thyroid problems’ or ‘We have cancer over here,’” Lingener said. “It’s just awareness and giving the people a chance to have their voices heard.”
People in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh said they deserve to know why the state waited 15 months before telling families their water wasn’t safe to drink. The state said it was previously not regulated.
But people said that isn’t an answer because the PFOA levels were still above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory.
“Even unregulated, it had amounts that warranted further investigation,” Emily Marpe, of Petersburgh, said. “Everybody needs to be held accountable when they do something wrong.”
The petition has now caught attention from people beyond Rensselaer County, and Lingener isn’t surprised.
“What’s going to happen when the next small town gets hit with this,” she said. “Nobody should have to go through the unknown like we did. Ever.”
People said the petition goes beyond accountability. Those living in Petersburgh said they are still fighting for blood tests. They said the New York State Department of Health has only put them on a waiting list.