Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 06.02.22

Poestenkill PFAS Investigation Update

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health (DOH) are working directly with Rensselaer County and the Town of Poestenkill using a coordinated, science-based approach to investigate the source of PFAS contamination in drinking water in the community. DEC’s extensive work is underway to identify potential sources of the contamination in the vicinity of the Algonquin Middle School. The following is a summary of DEC’s May 2022 Community Update: 

Algonquin Middle School Investigation: Results from DEC’s preliminary investigation did not identify an obvious source(s) of the contamination in the school’s water supply and additional work, both on and off the school property, is warranted. DEC recently released the PFAS Assessment Work Plan which details the work planned.

Nearby Property Investigations: DEC continues to pursue access to nearby commercial/industrial properties to evaluate if PFAS are present at source-level concentrations in groundwater and soil. DEC will continue to investigate potential sources of contamination based on the evaluation of data and other information gathered from analytical testing, field exploration methods, and the history of the area.

Resampling Homes: The initial assessment of private water supplies in the assessment area is complete and any property exceeding the State’s stringent drinking water standards has an alternate or treated water supply. RCDOH, DEC and DOH will resample approximately a dozen private wells that previously had a detection of PFOA or PFOS between 5 parts per trillion (ppt) and the 10 ppt drinking water standard. Results will determine the need for additional sampling or the need for additional response actions.

The full May 2022 Community Update is available on DEC’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/124334.html. We look forward to continuing to work with the community and keeping you informed throughout the process.

Eric Hausamann, P.E.

Correcting RensCo Executive Voting Claims

On Thursday, May 26, Rensselaer County Executive McLaughlin issued 6 tweets related to a voting bill before NY State. Bills before both the NY Senate & Assembly would require elections in counties and towns outside of NYC to occur in even-numbered years.

Recently RensCo had elections in 2018 (Congress), 2019 (County & Local); 2020 (Pres. + Congress); and 2021 (County & Local). By my estimate, these last 4 elections cost $5 million:

– $8.10 / voter cost to operate (MIT Election Lab)

– 160,000 residents in RensCo

– $8.10 x 160,000 = $1,296,000 –> 4 x $1.296 M = $5.2 M

Imagine if the 2019 & 2021 elections had occurred in even years. Consolidating elections saves taxpayers money!

RensCo Executive McLaughlin claimed consolidation would result in dozens of offices on the ballot & confusing ballots would result. This is a wild claim. “Dozens” suggests at least 24 offices & the condition does not exist. I have lived in multiple states & consolidated elections are common. Other Americas do not have this issue.

Research from the GreenLining Institute found that holding local elections in odd years:

– greatly reduces voter turnout;

– reduces the representation of the electorate; &

– Cities spend 4-5x more per ballot cast than similar sized cities holding even-year elections. 

The bottom line is that this NY election consolidation bill would save taxpayer dollars & increase voter turnout by consolidating elections with state / federal elections.

Why is RensCo Executive against saving taxpayer dollars & not for measures that have shown to increase both voter participation & representation?

Michael Myer, North Greenbush 12198

State Government Ignores Concerns of Dump Neighbors

Does anyone in the state government care about Rensselaer? Is Rensselaer the Siberia of New York?

The East Greenbush Town Board, Rensselaer City Council, Rensselaer County Legislature, Rensselaer School Board and teachers union, and Questar III BOCES have all passed resolutions or signed letters calling for the closure of the Waste Connections “Dunn” construction and demolition debris dump that borders the Rensselaer public school campus and is between Rensselaer and East Greenbush neighborhoods.

US Representative Paul Tonko signed a petition in 2019 calling for the dump’s immediate and permanent closure. 

No one in the state legislature has yet called for dump closure, nor have the governor, attorney general, NYS United Teachers union, state School Boards Association, Board of Regents, or the state health, environmental conservation, or education departments. 

What are they waiting for? Operating a dump next to a school is insane. Will they condone another five, ten, or more years of dump operations next to the 1100 student-staff school and athletic fields? Would they want their children attending school 180 days a year for 13 or 14 years next to a dump? 

Will the governor, commissioners, and state legislators shamelessly promote a $4.2 billion environmental bond act this fall while the dump and associated tractor trailer traffic poisons the air and water, and ruins the health and quality of life for Rensselaer and East Greenbush residents?

Tom Ellis, Albany 

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