SCHUMER & GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE EPA FINALLY DESIGNATES SUPERFUND SITE IN HOOSICK FALLS
Designation follows multi-year push by Schumer and Gillibrand
EPA now given authority to work with New York State to move forward with facilitating cleanup of PFOA at Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in the Village of Hoosick Falls
Albany, NY – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally added Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in the Village of Hoosick Falls to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL). The designation will allow the EPA to facilitate the permanent cleanup of PFOA at the Saint-Gobain site and community revitalization in Hoosick Falls.
“Hoosick Falls residents need all hands on deck -- and especially the EPA's Superfund status -- to hold accountable Saint-Gobain who created this PFOA mess and force them to clean up the pollution. I am glad that EPA has heeded our call to add this site to the Superfund list, because it gives the EPA leverage to make the polluters pay and to set a protocol for investigation and clean-up. I will continue to watch this situation like a hawk and will continue to remain in very close contact with the local officials to make sure the feds are meeting their deadlines,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.
“The EPA made the right decision by formally adding the Saint-Gobain facility in Hoosick Falls as a federal Superfund site. No New Yorker should ever have to worry about whether their water is safe drink, and I have been urging the EPA to designate Hoosick Falls a Superfund site so that this long-overdue cleanup can finally begin,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I will continue to urge my colleagues to devote every available resource to clean up the water in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh.”
“We are very grateful to have today's designation, and are glad to have EPA join the work already done by New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation on behalf of the community of Hoosick Falls, NY,” said Village of Hoosick Falls Mayor Robert Allen. “EPA will bring additional resources and experience so that the situation in Hoosick Falls can be fully investigated and fully remediated. PFOA, as well as PFOS and all the PFCs, create a very difficult situation for communities affected, as it bioaccumulates in the body, it doesn't biodegrade, and its toxicity has led to several of these chemicals being linked to very serious health concerns, including cancer. These chemicals are being discovered in more and more drinking water sources across the nation. I hope that our investigation and remediation can lead to a greater awareness of the dangers of these chemicals. Our experience points out the need for stronger regulations so that other communities can avoid the problems that we have experienced.”
Schumer has long fought to address the contamination at Hoosick Falls. In March Schumer and Gillibrand announced legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a maximum containment levels for PFOA and PFOS. Additionally, In January 2016 Schumer in a letter to Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics urged them to address the contamination at Hoosick Falls. In May of 2016 Schumer pushed the EPA to immediately release its updated drinking water health advisory. Schumer said it was critical to address and remediate the full scope of the contamination and fought to get this critical designation for Hoosick Falls.
Last year, Gillibrand called on the EPA to expedite its response to address water contamination in the Village of Hoosick Falls and take immediate federal action to support and augment the State of New York’s ongoing cleanup efforts. In July 2016, Gillibrand held a roundtable discussion inviting federal officials from EPA, CDC, and NIH to hear from residents of the Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh communities about how PFOA contamination personally affected their lives.
The superfund program, which Congress established in 1980, investigates and cleans up the nation’s most complex, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites and converts them into community resources. Only sites added to the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term permanent cleanup. The EPA’s Superfund program operates under the “polluter pays” principle, giving the EPA the authority to require polluters to clean up the environmental contamination they are responsible for at sites on the NPL. EPA adds sites to the NPL when mismanagement of contamination threatens human health and the environment.