ASSEMBLYMAN COLIN SCHMITT ANNOUNCES NYS ASSEMBLY MINORITY TASK FORCE ON WATER QUALITY
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R,C,I-New Windsor) held a press conference today to announce that he has been appointed a member of the NYS Assembly Minority Task Force on Water Quality and is set to host one of the largest water quality public hearings in New York State in his district later this month. Assemblyman Schmitt was joined by local elected officials, community leaders as well as non-profit, environmental, community groups and local residents.
Assemblyman Schmitt’s announcement today follows his aggressive approach in his first legislative session to address the water quality and water crises in his district and the entire Hudson Valley. Assemblyman Schmitt is proud to have co-sponsored and support critical legislation including banning PFAS in firefighting foam, establishing the Safe Water Infrastructure Action Program, requirements to the Department of Environmental Conservation to promulgate a list of water contaminants for sampling and reporting, enacting the “private well testing act”, establishing the New York State Drinking Water Bill of Rights, etc.
Assemblyman Schmitt has been working closely over the past few months with local elected officials to assist and support grant applications through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grant Program which is for municipalities with infrastructure projects that protect public health or to improve water quality particularly in parts of the Assemblyman’s district impacted by water crises and water quality issues. This year, Assemblyman Schmitt also announced that these grants have $350 million in new funding available for his local municipalities.
The Hudson Valley Public Hearing on Water Quality is open to the public and set for Wednesday, October 30th 6-8pm at the Vails Gate Fire Department, located at 872 Blooming Grove Turnpike, New Windsor, NY 12553. Public participation is welcomed and encouraged. Please contact Assemblyman Schmitt’s district office at 845-469-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt stated, “From the very beginning of my term a top concern and priority of mine has been addressing water quality problems and water crises in my district and our entire region. From emerging contaminants like PFAS/PFOA, aging infrastructure, depletion of aquifers to harmful algae blooms and wastewater treatment concerns all levels of government must work together to deliver results. I’ve lived in this community my entire life and I understand and share the same concerns that my constituents have. This is not a partisan issue, this is a New York issue. We have a responsibility to ensure safe, quality drinking water now and for future generations to come.”
Schmitt continued, “I am proud to announce that I have been appointed as a member of the NYS Assembly Minority Task Force on Water Quality. I am looking forward to hosting the Hudson Valley Public Hearing and listening to testimony from private citizens, local municipal leaders, environmental groups, not-for-profit groups as well as others to develop a final report as we head into the next legislative session. I’d like to thank everyone who attended my announcement today to give a brief overview of the issues that will certainly be focus points for the task force. I would encourage all those affected by any water issues to reach out to my office for further information and to attend the water quality hearing on October 30th.”
Town of Blooming Grove Supervisor Robert Jeroloman stated, “Water quality is one of the most important issues here in Blooming Grove so I’d like to thank Assemblyman Schmitt for having his press conference here and congratulate him on being named a member of this task force. One of the biggest problems here in Blooming Grove is our aquifers. Our aquifer does not stay within the municipal water, it travels from one area to another so neighboring municipalities are affected. Over the decades, allowing others to over-pump and introduce contaminants like chlorides into our aquifer system. This not only contaminates their aquifer but the aquifers in Blooming Grove, South Blooming Grove, Monroe and Woodbury. I have been involved in this issue since 2008 and I really welcome and appreciate Assemblyman Schmitt’s hard work and efforts. I am hoping that we will now be able to get some answers and get all municipalities to work together to protect our aquifer. If we lose our water, people will not be able to live here anymore so again congratulations and thank you to Assemblyman Schmitt.”
Village of South Blooming Grove Mayor James Lofranco stated, “First, I’d like to thank Assemblyman Schmitt for taking on this issue and helping the Village of South Blooming Grove as well as all the other municipalities. Assemblyman Schmitt has been working very closely with us in the Village of South Blooming Grove and given us a lot of support with grants that we have applied for that will help us with a new water filtration system. As you all know, the water issue in South Blooming Grove has been ongoing for a long time and continues to get worse so I truly appreciate all of Assemblyman Schmitt’s efforts and help.”
Orange County Health Commissioner, Dr. Irina Gelman stated, “First and foremost, I’d like to congratulate Assemblyman Schmitt on this critical appointment to the NYS Assembly Minority Task Force on Water Quality. Given Assemblyman Schmitt’s stellar track record, I certainly believe that he will continue to address not only the existing water and safety issues but more importantly, future issues and continue to be proactive.”
Orange County Legislator, Joseph Minuta stated, “Congratulations Assemblyman Schmitt on being named a member to this task force as this is critical to our surrounding areas. From my time with the Orange County Water Authority and now a County Legislator, I stand with Assemblyman Schmitt demanding that we no longer are given temporary solutions to fix our water problems but permanent solutions. I look forward to working with Assemblyman Schmitt on this and spearheading this issue directly to get what we need to solve these problems.”
Orange County Legislator, Kathy Calhoun-Stegenga stated, “I’d like to congratulate Assemblyman Schmitt for being named to this task force. It is great news for the Blooming Grove area as we have been dealing with this issue for many years and in South Blooming Grove, even longer. I am hopeful that with Assemblyman Schmitts strong leadership and representation, we can bring about much needed change in this area and address the issues for not only today but for future generations.”
Jeremy Schneider, Orange County Land Trust stated, “I’d like to thank Assemblyman Schmitt for involving the Orange County Land Trust in his water quality initiatives. I can’t think of a better place to be having this hearing than right here in Orange County between the Delaware and Hudson Rivers and every body of water in between. Many of these bodies of water are vulnerable to some of the issues in Orange County. We look forward to working with Assemblyman Schmitt to ensure that the hearing is a success and to bring about positive change to this area.”
Town of Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone stated, “Congratulations Assemblyman Schmitt and I am glad you are stepping up to take this task on. In the Town of Monroe, we have one specific issue aside from algae blooms, Palm Tree has drawn so much water for its use from KJs Brenner wells that they have caused two home wells to go dry on Old Country Road. It is very disarming for us because we have no control over the timeline of the new water line that will be under the ownership of Kiryas Joel water Dept. We are frustrated and hopeful that Assemblyman Schmitt will be able to help us with these issues.”
Rockland County Legislator Doug Jobson stated, “I’d like to congratulate Assemblyman Schmitt and offer my help with anything now and in the future. I’d certainly be willing to partner on any projects and wish you the best of luck!”
Village of Woodbury Deputy Mayor Timothy Egan stated, “First, I’d like to congratulate Assemblyman Schmitt for this critical task force. This is a huge issue for this area. I think this is a great example of State and local governments working together to solve really important issues. In the Village of Woodbury, water supply and sewer capacity are two of the biggest services that we provide to our residents. Over the past 10 years that I have been on the Village Board, we’ve been doing a lot to add additional wells, replace old wells and purchase additional sewage capacity but with the rate of development in Woodbury over the past couple of years, we are deeply concerned about our supplies. We are also deeply concerned that with neighboring communities like KJ drawing from their well in Mountainview the permitted 680,000 GPD could be exceeded without any oversight. By the time we notice the low levels in Woodbury Creek it will be too late. In regard to sewage capacity, I am hopeful that the Orange County Legislature will look at options that will dramatically increase sewage capacity. I look forward to testifying at the hearing and continuing to work with Assemblyman Schmitt on these issues.”
Jason West, President, Wallkill River Watershed Alliance stated, “Thank you to Assemblyman Schmitt. There is a saying in water activism circles, “Water is Life.” The water that flows through our communities is our responsibility whether we are talking about water supply or recreational activities. We should talk about recreational activities because this area is heavy in eco-tourism so whether its protecting your drinking water or your favorite fishing spot, favorite swimming hole, we need to protect these bodies of water against harmful algae blooms. I am really excited that Assemblyman Schmitt is on this task force looking out for these issues in the community and working to protect our water. I look forward to working with Assemblyman Schmitt!”
Village of Washingtonville Mayor Joseph Bucco stated, “I’d like to congratulate Assemblyman Schmitt for stepping up and taking on this task. As you can see, it’s such an important issue because everyone thats affected is here today. I hope that we can all work together to find real solutions.”
Town of Chester Councilman Vincent Finizia stated, “I’d personally like to thank Assemblyman Schmitt for reaching out to all parties to come here today. This issue affects everybody and this is for the benefit of not just Orange County Residents but all of New York State. Assemblyman Schmitt really should be commended and I personally thank him for inviting me.”
Stephen Keahon, Preserve Chester stated, “Congratulations to Assemblyman Schmitt for being named a member of this task force and I really appreciate him spearheading this issue and taking it head on. I think we can all agree that water is our most valuable asset. Within the Town of Chester, we are experiencing rapid growth like some of the other towns here today. My fear is that in the future, we will experience similar issues. We are looking forward to Assemblyman Schmitt finding some resolutions and getting these issues corrected for everyone.”
Town of Blooming Grove Deputy Supervisor George Doering, Jr. stated, “Like my colleagues, I’d like to congratulate Assemblyman Schmitt for this critical assignment. Water and sewer infrastructure issues are problems throughout the entire State but they are especially critical in some of the small towns and villages. The funding that is available to work on some of these issues is inaccessible to the smaller towns and villages. Blooming Grove has a number of sewer districts where often a handful of people pay for infrastructure that is 20-40 years old that is falling apart. These major problems can’t be fixed with only 40-50 people paying for it. I really appreciate the work that Assemblyman Schmitt is doing and look forward to working with him to try and figure out ways to make the funding more accessible to the smaller towns and villages.”
Colin Schmitt is committed to public service. Colin is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard and Assemblyman for the 99th NYS Assembly District which includes the Town of Stony Point in Rockland County and The Towns of Wawayanda, Goshen, Hamptonburgh, Chester, Blooming Grove, New Windsor, Cornwall, Highlands and Woodbury in Orange County. Colin lives in the Town of New Windsor with his wife Nikki and their beloved adopted Catahoula puppy Quincy!