Business Leader DiTullo Supports United Water’s Desalination Plant

Filling the need for more water and new jobs

BY MICHAEL DITULLO

As the president of the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, I am compelled to respond to the recent news conference staged by a handful of activists who are against United Water’s Haverstraw Water Supply Project.

Because of my commitment to help create jobs in Rockland County, I feel obligated to outline some of the many economic benefits of the Haverstraw Water Supply Project that the activists believe are unimportant.

By now, most Rockland residents understand that the county needs more water for homes, businesses and firefighting and that the State of New York has required United Water to develop a new long-term water supply.

I have personally toured the pilot facility in West Haverstraw and reviewed data that shows that the water quality is excellent. This project will not only provide the water we critically need, but it will create desperately needed jobs. In fact, construction of the Haverstraw Water Supply Project will put hundreds of people to work.

Construction workers rely on significant projects for their livelihoods. I take exception to the obstructionists who trivialize the fine men and women who have helped to build the critical infrastructure of New York State by calling their jobs “temporary.” This project will bring good-paying, skilled jobs that will put bread on the table, infuse additional money into the local economy and will help build the local tax base with a “clean” ratable that will not be a drain on limited municipal resources.

In addition, the 10 permanent jobs dismissed by the activists will employ highly-trained, certified plant operators who are charged with the great responsibility of ensuring the health and safety of our community.

Like other counties in New York State and throughout the nation, Rockland County’s economy continues to suffer from the effects of the “great recession.” Still, there are positive signs that point to recovery. In order to retain and attract vital businesses in the new economy, strong infrastructure, including a resilient, reliable and cost-effective water supply will have to be in place.

Under the leadership of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the departments of New York State government, local governments, economic development agencies such as the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, and the private sector are working hand in hand to create jobs and improve infrastructure so that New York, and places like Rockland County, are attractive places to work, live, and visit.

The handful of activists who oppose projects like the Haverstraw Water Supply Project have the luxury to do so without having to back up their words with facts or to bear any responsibility for their reckless actions. Where will these individuals be if the time comes when the need for water outpaces United Water’s ability to produce water with existing infrastructure?

Governor Cuomo’s message that “New York is open for business” has been welcome news to the business community and to enlightened residents who recognize that in order to thrive as a state, you need a business climate that encourages investment and job creation. United Water first proposed the Haverstraw Water Supply Project in January 2007 and has since undertaken an incredibly transparent environmental impact review that included input and consultation with regulators and the public each step of the way. Its engineering analyses, financial calculations, and study results have been available for scrutiny by the professional staffs of government regulators and the public alike. I am confident that the highly-qualified professionals at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Health and the Public Service Commission will ensure that this Project is needed, safe, reliable, and cost effective.

The time has come to approve and construct the Haverstraw Water Supply Project to create jobs, provide much needed tax revenues to struggling governments, and, most importantly, to meet the water supply needs of Rockland County residents and businesses.

Join the Rockland Economic Development Corporation in support of United Water’s Haverstraw Water Supply Project. Call the Governor at 518.474.8390 and say “yes.”

Michael DiTullo is the president of the Rockland Economic Development Corporation.