It was a long and frustrating night for Hoosick Falls residents scheduled to speak at the water quality hearing in Albany. After hours of testimony from state and local leaders, some residents left early, forgoing their chance to address lawmakers. And as Tanja Rekhi reports, the state officials they wanted to hear their testimony had left hours earlier.
ALBANY, N.Y -- These are the voices that have spoken up for nearly a year -- the voices that time after time -- shared painful stories about the impacts of water contamination due to the toxic chemical PFOA.
“I'm accountable to the parents who raised their children - their now grown children - in this community and now live in fear of the damage that may have been done to them,” said Hoosick Falls resident Alan Webster.
After months of speaking up, Wednesday all they could do is listen, as leaders from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Health tried to explain to elected officials how this potentially cancer causing element ever leaked into the water in Petersburgh and Hoosick Falls. And why it took so long to share the news.
Residents were supposed to be heard again at Wednesday's Assembly and Senate water quality hearings, but after five hours they had heard enough.
Only one resident scheduled to speak remained several hours into the hearing. Because while the others have been raising their voices for months -- the state officials they've wanted to listen -- weren't even there to hear.
“You think your voice is being heard and then you sit through five hours of back and forth where the residents take the back seat to everything that's being discussed. And you realize that your voice hasn't been heard,” Webster said.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker left after they were done speaking.