Submitted by SPACE
At its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 14, the Town of Stony Point Town Board unanimously adopted a resolution that the State of New York grant Rockland County an Issues Conference for the proposed Haverstraw Water Supply Project so that disputed issues of need and real costs can be more independently examined on behalf of county residents.
The resolution refers to an independent economic study by EcoNorthwest, a firm that was retained by the Rockland County Water Coalition to examine the financial data and real costs of the proposed desalination plant. The EcoNorthwest study, which is highly critical of United Water’s financial data, found it to be lacking in how data had been gathered, organized, documented and presented. The report states that there is “almost complete lack of transparency and documentation regarding the data, assumptions, and analysis methods used to generate the cost results.” The report went on to state that cost sections of the DEIS report “lack credibility as a source of information for decision makers and stakeholders.”
“With the Town of Stony Point adoption of a resolution on the need for an Issues Conference, the town board recognized that Stony Point and Rockland County taxpayers and ratepayers deserve full transparency concerning the real cost of our drinking water and full transparency of significant need issues,” says Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment (SPACE) president, George Potanovic, Jr, who is also a member of the Rockland County Water Coalition. He has also questioned United Water’s motives to pass along much higher water rates onto Rockland County residents and businesses to subsidize the construction and operation of an energy-intensive desalination plant to drink Hudson River water while United Waters plans to send more of Rockland County’s fresh water from Lake Deforest Reservoir to its New Jersey customers. “This is a transfer of cost issue that raises significant unanswered questions as to whether desalination is really a good economic deal for Rockland County residents and businesses,” says Potanovic.
In addition to Potanovic, three other town residents spoke in support of the town adopting the Issues Conference resolution during public input, including Rockland County and Haverstraw businessman, Stephen Beckerle, who urged the town board to adopt the resolution, which he termed as a necessary “fact finding” effort so that the real costs and need can be fully evaluated on behalf of county residents. He went on to call the Issues Conference a “no brainer” that would benefit all county residents.
With its vote, the Town of Stony Point became the first town to join three other Rockland County villages that have already adopted the resolution in the past week. The goal of the Rockland County Water Coalition now is to have all Rockland towns and villages adopt this resolution. The need for the state to grant an Issues Conference has already received overwhelming, bipartisan, unanimous support from the entire Rockland County Legislature (minus one legislator form Haverstraw) and the Rockland County Executive. “Support or opposition to United Water’s desalination plant is not at issue here, but what is at stake is the fact that Rockland County residents and businesses deserve due process and expect that United Water is forthcoming with full, complete and accurate data concerning need and cost.” said Potanovic.