Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So Mike Hein, our County Exec plans to contact AG Schneiderman's office asking them to investigate the turbid water release into the Esopus. I think this is a wise move on his part as we head toward another 30+ days of pollution in our precious waterways. 

Hein had a press conference last week to announce the first step his administration is taking to file a suit against the NYC DEP for the release. Flanked with bi-partisan support of the Legislature, his office put the issue out there and demonstrated just how serious we are about the long term damage to our waterways. Damage to our ecology, agriculture, tourism and community drinking source.
William Kemble has a great article in the Freeman with much of the details, however I'd like to than Exec Hein for taking such a firm stand on this issue. Ulster County is but a part of the overal NYC watershed, but we have rights as well. 

At a recent gathering, Michael spoke about the frustrating absence of action from DEC officials despite acknowledgement of the Esopus Creek damage. Almost 600 Million Gallons are being artificially sent down the creek from the Ashokan. This has been going on for over 100 days with no end in sight.
Hein also spoke of the impact that the contaminated water would have on our irrigated crops heading into the next growing season. This is pristine farmland with award winning produce. What farming that survives such a disaster will be faced with different sales avenues, such as providing feed for animals instead of at market. Not good.

Hein was quoted in the paper: “I want them to pay for an independent evaluation of the damage they’ve already caused by polluting our water for the past 100 days in a row and to delivery a legally binding commitment to never do it again. They are taking the easy way out." 

Hein continued: “New York City DEP had a history of dealing with turbidity by using alum and New York state DEC has precluded them from using alum. Instead of examining other options they took the easy way out to dump concentrated, polluted water down the waste channel into the lower Esopus.” 

On another point, using the AG's office for this isn't un-heard-of. The Legislature has toyed with the idea of contacting the office to help with the RRA issue. Depending on where our County Comptroller's Report on the agency goes, will determine if we seek help from Mr Schneiderman. 

In closing, I ask will the threat of lawsuit from Ulster County help or hinder our case against NYC? We have no way of knowing. We do know we will spend money making the case, but that's what the fund balance is for.


Jeremiah said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I am glad someone in local government stepped up to do something. I don't know that I put a lot of faith in the AG, because NYC is a big voting block for him. But hopefully the lawsuit will make some headway.

Maybe a temporary court injunction either on the local or federal level too?

Anonymous said...

Why doesnt the Daily disappointment have the KPD suspension on it's Web site of the Lt. Detective. Any new developments in the Green case.

Anonymous said...

This is a real problem, if this was another town or enity they would be shut down in a day and fined big time. The DEP has been given a pass on this and the towns are suffering. The Town of Marbletown park where children take swimming lessons ahs been directly effected and the water released has damaged fishing and water quality for years.

Anonymous said...

Good news or fighting the good fight we see Mike Hein. Bad news? Forget it, someone else will be the bearer.

Precision Flow is laying off, March Gallagher, will you please handle that?

Why does Hein consistently do this? Does he think that people will blame his staff and not him?

Anonymous said...

I doubt Hein even says please.

Anonymous said...

So much anger out there. Lets see where this goes before we roast Hein again. I know this is Blogville where only the angry speak, but damn...we need the county to succeed here.
If the threat of possible lawsuit helps NYC come to a different solution, then it was worth it. Our economy depends on it.

Anonymous said...

why doesn't Hein care about the people in Wawarsing, the DEP ruined 40 septic systems there.

so far the count for ruined septic systems from the lower esopus is 1.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Ashokan dam ought to be opened entirely and re-flood Hurley flats, Kingston Plaza, etc...