Hoosick Falls water advocates take fight to Washington

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The fight continues for the people of Hoosick Falls who have been dealing with water contamination for more than two years.

Some major advocates recently took their stories to Capitol Hill. Their trip was about Michael Dourson, who was nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

But people from Hoosick Falls said it’s Dourson’s history with big chemical companies that make him wrong for the job.

Emily Marpe will tell you her daughter Gwen is a hugger. She’ll also say the 12 year old has high levels of PFOA in her blood.

“My daughter’s blood levels are already 207,000 parts per trillion,” she said.

She moved her family away from a chemical plant in Petersburgh that caused the contamination.

“That was something that I just couldn’t deal with for the rest of my life was being so closely tied to Taconic Plastics,” she said.

It’s a story Marpe has told far too many times. And she has now taken it to Washington.

RELATED: FULL COVERAGE: Hoosick Falls water contamination crisis

“I’ll go to whatever lengths I have to protect my kids,” she said.

The trip to Washington was about speaking out against Dourson’s nomination to the EPA.

“He’s really the guy you would bring in as a big company to try and downplay the significance of chemicals in general,” Michael Hickey said.

Hickey is credited for discovering the water contamination in Hoosick Falls. After his father passed away, he knew something wasn’t right.

Now he’s dedicated to changing the community in his honor.

“If that’s accomplished, then I think I’ve done a good thing for him,” he said.

Loreen Hackett also told her story on Capitol Hill.

“It humanizes them,” she said. “It brings the issue to their face.”

Hackett became the face of PFOA when she started posting pictures of her grandchildren and their blood contamination levels on Twitter.

“Their lives are so affected by the decisions that you have made,” she said.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at Dourson’s hearing after she was moved by Marpe’s story at a hearing in Hoosick Falls last year.

“This time she returned the favor, and she made me cry,” Marpe said.

Back in Hoosick Falls, Marpe said she and her family are trying to get back to some type of normalcy.

“We’re just trying to live the American Dream; that’s all we want,” she said.

In the past, Dourson has set chemical safe levels higher than now considered acceptable. He would still need to be confirmed by lawmakers before taking the position with the EPA.

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