By Doug La Rocque
The former “Sex in the City” star and is now challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination. Cynthia Nixon made an appearance at the Delaney Hotel in Hoosick Falls last Thursday, April 5, to accuse the Governor of ignoring the water crisis, and his Department of Health (DOH) of a cover up. She says New York State officials knew of the PFOA contamination problem for at least a year before it came to light, and only started to take action after Michael Hickey had the water tested, and made those results public. She also says “the clean up is still not happening fast enough.” She further accused the Cuomo Administration of being “in the backroom with Saint Gobain, trying to negotiate, while there is a crying need for an alternative water source for Hoosick Falls. Frankly, If I lived here, I wouldn’t drink the water either.” Saint Gobain and Honeywell are the two companies that have been identified by the state as the probable source for the contamination. The consent order signed between the two companies and the state has called for a water feasibility study, the results of which are due shortly.
Ms. Nixon started off her day in Hoosick Falls, meeting with a round table of citizens who told her some of the history of the contamination, and how they have been effected personally by it. Michelle O’Leary told the candidate, she moved her family here after doing a lot of research, even noting that Hoosick Falls had once won the award for the best tasting water in the state. She moved back to Columbia County, fearing for her families safety. Her Hoosick Fall’s home now in foreclosure, because no one wanted to buy it.
Former Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith Enck joined Ms. Nixon in the round table session. She said New York State’s theme here “is one of obstruction and lack of information. The village only got a reaction from state officials after intensive media coverage.” Ms. Nixon added “no one came to save you, you had to save yourself.”
Dr. Howard Freed, a former director of Center for Environmental Health, pointed to stress as another major health concern. “People with elevated levels of PFOA in their blood, have to live with a lifetime of worry.” PFOA is believed to be linked to several forms of cancer. He called upon the state to provide the mechanism for medical monitoring of children and adults.
During a news conference that followed the round table, Ms. Nixon called for Saint Gobain to step up to the plate and take responsibility. She labeled them a international company that makes 1.5 billion dollars a year, and that they should “foot the bill for their own mess.” She wrapped up her visit to Hoosick Falls by declaring “I would love to debate Andrew Cuomo.”
Ms. Nixon and Governor Cuomo will both be on the September 13, Democratic Primary ballot.