Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 01.27.22

CCCDW Notes 1st Anniversary of PFOA Discovery at Algonquin Middle School

Poestenkill – In January 2021, water tests at the Algonquin Middle School revealed a level of PFOA above the levels deemed safe by New York State. Since then, homes selected by government officials near the middle school have been tested; other homes were denied that opportunity. Some homes not selected for testing have paid for their own water tests. Homeowners above the state limits are in the process of having filtration systems installed in their homes while others with a presence of contaminants but below the state limit have debated whether to incur the cost to do so. Various forums have been held where community members have asked elected officials and agency experts questions and shared their frustrations. But a year later, the bottom line is that the community still does not know the source or how or if the contamination can be contained. 

Concerned Citizens for Clean Drinking Water (CCCDW) will be writing to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to share its members’ frustration on the slow process in finding the source. Specifically, CCCDW will be asking the DEC to share data collected at local sources, to provide free water testing for all homes in affected areas, and requesting that the 2022 work plan for finding the source and remediating accordingly. 

CCCDW is an ad-hoc group of area residents formed to share information and advocate at all government levels regarding the PFAS contamination found at Algonquin Middle School and nearby homes.

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Greg Pattenaude, Averill Park

Another Worthless Constitutional Amendment

On January 1, 2022, by vote of the people in November of 2020, we have a new § 19 to Article I of the New York Constitution, the so-called “Bill of Rights,” although it is much more a bill of goods, because it is unenforceable against the state, the abuses of which it is supposed to protect us, from, but doesn’t because it can’t. 

The new § 19 states that “(E)ach person shall have a right to clean air and water, and to a healthful environment,” but what exactly does that mean, given we in Poestenkill do not have any of that?

And the answer is it means nothing, because there is no way to make it mean anything.

When we cannot compel enforcement in a court of law, there is no law, just empty words pretending to be such, which is the case with § 19 to Article I of the New York Constitution.

As to our right to clean water and a healthful environment, we already have §3 of Article XVII of the New York State Constitution, titled Social Welfare, wherein is stated “(T)he protection and promotion of the health of the inhabitants of the state are matters of public concern and provision therefor shall be made by the state and by such of its subdivisions and in such manner, and by such means as the legislature shall from time to time determine,” adopted by the Constitutional Convention of 1938 from which came the NYS Public Health Law and state Sanitary Code to protect our drinking water, and here we are 84 years later in Poestenkill with water not fit to drink or to water hogs with. 

And there is § 4 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution, titled, “Conservation,” approved by vote of the people November 4, 1969, wherein is stated “(T)he policy of the state shall be to conserve and protect its natural resources,” and “(T)he legislature, in implementing this policy, shall include adequate provision for the abatement of air and water pollution and ….. the development and regulation of water resources.”

And 53 years later? PFAS polluted water!

Paul Plante, Poestenkill 12018

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