For Immediate Release:

Senate candidate says finally setting standards will enable the City of Newburgh and other municipalities to access funds to for clean-up efforts and ensure safe drinking water

NEW WINDSOR, NY – In the wake of a new lawsuit filed by the City of Newburgh over water PFOS contamination, Senate candidate Tom Basile is calling on the Drinking Water Quality Council to meet and set levels for emerging contaminants enabling the city to access clean-up funds and improve water quality.

On Monday, the City of Newburgh filed suit against the federal government, New York State and state agencies and manufacturers for the contamination of the city’s primary water supply by perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Basile says that the state’s efforts fall short of what is needed to protect public health and ensure access to safe drinking water. 

“Experts have recognized that PFOS is a serious public health concern. The state has said repeatedly that if the Federal government fails to step up and set levels for emerging contaminants like PFOS, the state would do it,” said Basile who is running to succeed long-serving Senator Bill Larkin. “Newburgh’s residents shouldn’t be treated this way. If this were a wealthy community in Westchester, there would have been swift action to deal with this contamination and inform residents.”

Basile says that litigation can take years but Newburgh needs the resources to address this problem now. “The Drinking Water Quality Council was created to set minimum contamination levels that would enable the City of Newburgh to access cleanup funds. They have failed to meet to make those recommendations.” 

Basile points out that the Council was supposed to meet on March 19th, but the meeting was canceled and has yet to be rescheduled. “I join Senator Hannon, environmental and health advocates, and members of the public in calling on the council to meet.  Even the Cuomo Administration agrees that if they do not set these standards the State must move forward on setting levels independently,” said Basile.

“Clean water infrastructure funding is of no help to Newburgh and others if they are unable to access it,” stated Basile. Without identifying minimum levels for contamination, Newburgh and other areas dealing with emerging contaminants have little or no access to state funds for clean-up efforts.

“The Senate included a proposal in its budget this year to try to ensure adequate access to funding for emerging contaminants, an initiative I support and will make a priority as our Senator.”  

“It is crucial that New York State set strong drinking water safeguards and remediate contaminated drinking water in Newburgh and across New York State, as the Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation and Governor Cuomo have pledged to do.”

jonathan wiener