Skoufis’ Bill to Require More Accountability of KJ Well and all Public Wells Signed by Governor
A bill that Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) introduced (S.1724) to require full disclosure of monitoring reports related to public wells receiving permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was signed by the Governor last week. Skoufis authored the bill in response to the Kiryas Joel-owned Mountainville well in his district affecting water supplies in Woodbury, Cornwall, and Cornwall-on-Hudson.
Skoufis’ legislation specifically requires the DEC to post results of well monitoring on its website in addition to all information related to water usage and conservation of DEC-issued well permits. The DEC already collects all of this information; this law simply makes it publicly accessible for anyone to examine.
“The public should be afforded increased transparency by being able to easily access the results of well monitoring,” said Senator Skoufis. “Our community deserves to know if access to water is ever at risk. This legislation, alongside local efforts, will ensure that the DEC is transparent and people know whether to have peace of mind or cause for alarm.”
From 2015 to late 2017, Woodbury, Cornwall, Cornwall-on-Hudson, and a number of non-profits sought to challenge the DEC’s decision to permit the Kiryas Joel-owned Mountainville well, claiming that pumping so much water would deplete nearby wells as well as drain the Woodbury Creek.
Cornwall Supervisor Dick Randazzo said, “My gratitude towards Senator Skoufis for successfully fighting for transparency from the DEC and for getting this bill signed. I share the concerns of many of our residents that the well in Mountainville is going to result in degradation of the Woodbury Creek and potentially deplete nearby private wells, putting us at risk of losing fundamental access to clean water and protecting our environment. Having access to this information is a significant step forward.”
Woodbury Deputy Supervisor Jackie Hernandez said, “When the court ruled in favor of permitting the Mountainville well, this community immediately started voicing concern towards its potential impact. I thank Senator Skoufis for his success in making sure the people of Woodbury and Cornwall have full access to this information, as well as people across the state who deserve to know what’s happening with their water supply.”
The bill takes effect on February 6, 2020. Skoufis remains committed to fighting for access to clean drinking water. Back in July, Skoufis stood with local officials to call on the Department of Health (DOH) to implement the Drinking Water Quality Council’s recommended water standards of 10 ppt MCLs for PFOA and PFOS chemicals; one week later, DOH committed to instituting these stricter standards.