Skoufis bill to publicly disclose monitoring of Kiryas Joel well passes State Senate

Skoufis pledges to watch the Mountainville well like a hawk in order to protect the drinking water of the surrounding community

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— A bill that state Sen. James Skoufis introduced (S.1724) to require full disclosure of monitoring reports related to public wells receiving permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation has passed in the state Senate.

Last year in the Assembly, Skoufis authored and passed the identical bill in response to the Mountainville well in his district affecting the water supplies in Woodbury, Cornwall and Cornwall-on-Hudson.

The Assembly must now re-pass the legislation.

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.

“Access to clean and drinkable water is a basic human right, and our community deserves to know if it’s ever at risk,” Skoufis said in the press release detailing the bill. “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.”

The well's impact on Woodbury CreekFrom 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 as well as drain the Woodbury Creek.

Once the state appeal’s court ruled in Kiryas Joel’s favor, Skoufis began working on the disclosure legislation in the Assembly and has continued these efforts in the state Senate.

'A fundamental treasured natural resource'“I share the concerns expressed by many of our residents that the Kiryas Joel-owned well in Mountainville will adversely impact the Woodbury Stream and deplete nearby wells, putting us at risk of losing a fundamental treasured natural resource and access to clean water," said Cornwall Supervisor Dick Randazzo. "I urge the Assembly to quickly pass Senator Skoufis’ bill.”

Woodbury Deputy Supervisor Jackie Hernandez added: “When the state appeal’s court ruled in favor of permitting the Mountainville well, this community immediately started voicing apprehension toward its potential impact. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Skoufis in making sure the people of Woodbury and Cornwall have full access to this information.”

Gedalye Szegedin, the former village administrator for Kiryas Joel and now the Palm Tree town clerk, could not be reached for comment.

Skoufis pledged to continue watching the Mountainville well like a hawk in order to protect the drinking water of the surrounding community.

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