Letter to the Editor: WATER WEEK CREATED AWARENESS

Dear Editor,

The impact of Water Week in Rockland Restaurants was huge in creating awareness on the issues surrounding United Water’s proposed Hudson River desalination plant in Haverstraw. The guests at the restaurants received an informational flyer urging them to attend the Public Service Commission Hearings on October 1 and 2 – and they did, packing the house for a combined total of more than 1,200 people attending both nights of the hearings!

This event was also a tremendously successful fundraiser and brought together the public and local businesses. People enjoyed great food and the restaurants have been very generous indeed. All of the funds received will go directly to paying the fees and associated costs of the experts that the Rockland Water Coalition retained to testify on behalf of the public at the hearings.

The Rockland Water Coalition gives a big shout of thanks to the thirty-five restaurants owners and chefs who participated in this initiative and of course to the public, who supported this event. The Public Service Commisssion has heard the voices of the public and of this small but important sector of the business community. Water Week in Rockland Restaurants is now a part of the Public Service Commission hearings record.

There has been an unintended consequence however – some apparent “push back” that a couple of the restaurants reported hearing from a few of the major players who support the desalination plant.

In our society, although we may have disagreements, we honor and cherish the freedom we have to express our views without having a fear of harassment or of being punished. The Rockland Water Coalition and I applaud those restaurant owners who have had the courage to stand up for their beliefs and for making such a strong public statement in support of clean, safe, affordable and sustainable water planning for Rockland County. These restaurant owners and staff deserve all of our continued support!

Now that the hearings have concluded, it is important to send written statements to the Public Service Commisssion by October 18, 2013. Please refer to Case Number “13-W-0303. By internet: go to www.dps.ny.gov, search the case number “13-W-0303” and click the “post comments” button at the top of the page. Or email the Secretary to the PSC at secretary@dps.ny.gov. Mail comments to Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, N.Y. 12223-1350. Or telephone : In state callers can call the PSC’s Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120 toll free 24/7.

I closing I want to say how moved I was at the intelligent and passionate statement that individuals made both nights of the hearings. I personally want to thank the editors and journalists who have been following all of the updates on the water situation in Rockland County and I especially want to thank all of the restaurant business owners who rallied support for safe, clean and affordable water for all Rockland County residents!

Sincerely,

Jacquelyn Drechsler
Valley Cottage