The NYS Public Service Commission responded swiftly by phone to a letter sent this afternoon to PSC Commissioner Garry Brown by Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell and agreed, as Cornell requested, to change the dates of two public hearings that were scheduled for September concerning the PSC’s July directive ordering United Water NY to restate its need for a the development of a new water source.
The PSC had scheduled hearings for September 9 and 10, which did not allow the public a typical 30-day period to review documents regarding a significant project said Cornell. “Furthermore,” added Cornell, “these dates coincided with back-to-school “Meet the Teacher” evenings already scheduled in several school districts, September 10 primary elections, and the dates fell in between two most important holy days observed by Rockland’s Jewish population.” Cornell also stated concern that the timing of the announcement was inopportune as many residents are away enjoying the waning weeks of summer.
“Over 24,000 residents signed petitions opposing the desalination plant,” said Cornell. “In addition, many have spoken up in the county for an issues conference including the State legislative delegation, the County Executive, the County Legislature, four out of five towns and 12 villages, not to mention the local Gannett paper’s editorial board. The unanimity across municipal and party lines has arisen from a collective demand and urgency for an impartial adjudicatory procedure. Rockland residents want assurance that the PSC process will offer them the same opportunity as UWNY to present evidence. They want assurance that their well-researched and documented arguments and expert testimony will be given a fair hearing and careful consideration by impartial administrators who are knowledgeable in the subject area.”
The PSC advised Cornell that new dates would be announced in the near future.
“The Rockland public is due the assurance that the PSC will listen to all information with utmost objectivity,” said Cornell. “The integrity of the process is at stake. I thank Commissioner Brown for this positive response to my request.”