Skoufis introduces legislation to disclose monitoring of KJ-owned Mountainville well

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HIGHLAND MILLS — Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) announced that he introduced legislation to require full disclosure of all monitoring related to the Village of Kiryas Joel-owned well in Mountainville as well as all public wells receiving permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Skoufis’ legislation would specifically require the DEC to post results of well monitoring on its website in addition to all information related to water usage and conservation related to DEC-issued well permits.

The disclosure would be publicly accessible for anyone to look up online.

“Access to clean and drinkable water is one of our most basic rights, and our community deserves to know if it’s ever in jeopardy,” Skoufis said in the press release announcing the initiative. “I joined many of my Cornwall and Woodbury neighbors in voicing concerns about the Kiryas Joel-owned well in Mountainville and its impact on the surrounding water supply – this legislation, alongside local efforts to keep a watchful eye, would 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 Mountainville well, claiming that pumping so much water would deplete nearby wells in addition to draining the Woodbury Creek.

However, the state appeal’s court ruled in Kiryas Joel’s favor, prompting Skoufis to begin working on the disclosure legislation.

Cornwall Supervisor Dick Randazzo said: “This legislation, paired with Cornwall’s efforts to scrutinize water levels, is a positive and welcome development. I strongly urge the Legislature to pass this bill and simply afford people a right to know what’s going on in their backyard.”

Woodbury Deputy Supervisor Jackie Hernandez added: “As a small business owner that uses a private well in Mountainville, I know first-hand what’s at stake. Assemblyman Skoufis’ common-sense legislation will make sure the people of Woodbury and Cornwall get the information they need, when they need it.”

Kiryas Joel Village Administrator Gedalye Szegedin could not be reached for comment at press time.

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