NY Assembly to hold water quality hearings

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Assembly will hold long awaited water quality hearings in September.

The Environmental Conservation Committee and Health Committee will hold the hearings.

“Recent reports of water contamination in municipalities across the state have highlighted the need for a thorough review of measures to ensure clean and healthy water in our communities,” New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement. “Ensuring a safe water supply for our children and families is a top priority for us.”

Many in Hoosick Falls were ecstatic to hear the news.

“Power in numbers has been absolutely amazing and we are fighters and we are not going to stop until we are done and we get what we deserve,” Laura Paboby said.

Paboby is part of a group of women who have spent countless hours making phone calls, taking to social media, and visiting the state capitol to demand water quality hearings. Among them is 10-year-old Ashlynn Sagendorf.

“Because it’s our town, and we matter,” she said. “PFOA is deadly, and that’s why.”

The hard work has paid off. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin has also been pushing for the hearings.

“First reaction was happy, joy,” he said. “It’s been a long time, and took a lot of effort.”

McLaughlin said he expects damning revelations may emerge about how the issue of water contamination in Hoosick Falls was dealt with.

“Really break down the e-mail trails and the communication back-and-forth between the EPA and the Cuomo administration, and we start to examine why it was that the Cuomo administration knew for 18 months that that water was tainted and said nothing,” he said.

McLaughlin hopes the hearings will resolve those issues. He also gave credit to those who fought for hearings because he said they made a difference.

Sagendorf knows that.

“Everyone can make a change if you put your mind to it because everyone matters in this town,” she said. “Even young people can do it, and people, if they believe in themselves, they can make big things.”

The New York State Senate does not have any hearings planned. McLaughlin believes there should be joint hearings involving both the senate and assembly.

The assembly hearings will be held in Albany County and Suffolk County. The assembly will review the causes and response to the known contaminations and measures to prevent future occurrences.

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