Tuxedo, NY– Chele Farley (R-Orange County), who is a candidate for Congress in New York’s 18th Congressional District, today called for immediate action by the federal government to remediate the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination emanating from the Stewart Air National Guard Base.
“Everyone has the right to safe, clean drinking water,” said Chele Farley. “The contamination that started at Stewart Air Base is spreading and affecting more local residents. While important steps have been taken at the federal, state and local levels, real progress requires the federal government to address the PFAS contamination released into the local water supply.”
Municipal water supplies in the City of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor have been contaminated by PFOS and PFOS chemicals found in the firefighting foam used at the Stewart Air National Guard Base. After being discharged into Recreation Pond, these chemicals flowed into Washington Lake, which is the primary reservoir for the City of Newburgh, and other area waterways.
Through a series of connecting streams, this contamination has spread to the Town of New Windsor’s primary water source, which caused the Town to close its new, $31 million Butterhill wells water treatment facility and re-access the Catskill Aqueduct.
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working to develop new regulations setting federal PFAS water standards and is studying the health effects cause by exposure to these toxins, the federal government has failed to aggressively act to clean up the source of the contamination.
“In our system, the polluter must pay for the harm it has caused,” said Chele Farley. “Just like General Electric had a responsibility to correct the damage caused by the PCBs it dumped into the Hudson River, the Department of Defense must do the same for Recreation Pond and the streams, ponds and wells that have been affected by the PFAS contamination that originated at the Stewart Air National Guard Base. Clearly, the area impacted by this crisis is expanding and the federal government has a responsibility to take immediate action, before the situation gets even worse.”
Beyond Farley’s call for the federal government to expedite and fully fund the remediation process, she called for federal support to be made available to local municipalities, like the City of Newburgh and Town of New Windsor, and area homeowners forced to bear costs associated with PFAS contamination.
“There must be federal funding made available to help local communities ensure the safety of their drinking water supply,” said Chele Farley. “So far, Sean Patrick Maloney and our federal representatives have failed to provide the resources we need to address the root cause of this contamination. Permanently solving this problem will be a priority for me on day one.”