After Prolonged Push, Hoosick Falls To Get Its Water Hearing

Hoosick Falls residents will have their first chance to directly confront state officials on Tuesday in a public hearing to address the PFOA contamination in the village’s drinking water.

“It’s an opportunity for the residents in Hoosick Falls to tell their stories and I think it’s very important that we listen to them,” said Sen. Kathy Marchione, the Republican lawmaker in the Senate who represents the area.

The hearing is being held after a prolonged effort by residents of the rural village to get to the bottom of how the chemical contamination went undetected for so long.

“I think we need to know when did you know about PFOA, how did you handle it, who did you speak with,” Marchione said.

Marchione herself has come under fire from village residents for not initially backing hearings. She’s passed legislation making it easier for those who live in declared superfund sites like Hoosick Falls to sue.

“I think that people will still be very concerned and I’m still very concerned that cleanup isn’t done,” she said. “The blood tests show high levels of PFOA. That doesn’t go away. That stays with you every single night.”

Expected to testify at the hearing in Hoosick Falls are the commissioners of the state health and environmental conservation departments. But the federal Environmental Protection Agency will only submit written testimony.

“To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement,” Marchione said. “I believe that EPA should be there. I believe that people in my district deserve to hear from EPA just like they deserve to hear from DOH and DEC.”

The hearing is the first of several forums state lawmakers plan to hold on water quality. Next month, both the Senate and Assembly will hold joint hearings on statewide water quality issues.

“We need to as a state and as a country need to focus on rebuilding our infrastructure and a big part of that infrastructure is making sure folks have clean water,” said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin.

McLaughlin says state officials didn’t act swiftly enough to address initial reports of the PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls.

“It’s crucial, I mean this is on a level of Flint Michigan type of a problem with government not letting folks know what was going on,” he said.

The Hoosick Falls hearing begins at 10:30 Tuesday morning at Hoosick Falls high school.

Extras

After new revelations about his sexting habit, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, announced she’s leaving her marriage to ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Donald Trump issued a statement saying Abedin made a “very wise decision,” but also questioned whether Weiner had endangered national security.

Citing confidentiality, a spokeswoman for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services would not comment on whether Weiner’s behavior – sending a woman who was not his wife a screen shot of himself in his underwear with his son beside him in bed – would prompt an inquiry.

Multiple news organizations – including our sister station, NY1 – have moved to sever or suspend their ties with Weiner.

Two people were shot this morning outside a deli in Chappaqua about a mile from Democratic presidential candidate Clinton’s home.

Clinton is rolling out a comprehensive plan to address millions of Americans coping with mental illness, pointing to the need to fully integrate mental health services into the nation’s health-care system.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani wasn’t a fan of Beyoncé’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last night, taking issue with the pop star’s statement about police brutality in the black community.

S.J. Jung, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary, vowed to fight to bar pictures of same-sex couples from appearing in school textbooks.

Drug maker Mylan said it will offer a generic version of the life-saving allergy treatment EpiPen for half the list price of the brand-name treatment after it became the center of a national controversy over skyrocketing drug prices.

The owner of Ballister’s Bistro in Rome has created three sandwiches and a salad with ingredients chosen to poke fun at the four presidential candidates.

Republican congressional candidate Claudia Tenney picked up an endorsement from a congressman outside NY-22 -retiring NY-19 Rep. Chris Gibson – after GOP incumbent Rep. Richard Hanna vowed he will never support her.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long slammed her Democratic opponent, Sen. Chuck Schumer, for failing to speak out about the EpiPen situation, noting he has received campaign cash from the drug company’s CEO and its PAC.

For the first time in decades, the Assembly has a speaker (Carl Heastie) who’s willing to vote against proposed legislation, at least on occasion. But dissent on legislation remains rare in the chamber.

Less than 24 hours before a state Senate hearing on water quality begins in the Rensselaer County community of Hoosick Falls, the DEC has declared municipal landfills in the Village of Hoosick Falls and towns of Petersburgh and Berlin to be “potential” state superfund sites.

More pre-hearing news: Sen. Broad Hoyman, a Manhattan Democrat, said he will propose legislation aimed at broadening the state’s monitoring of water contaminates.

The author of a newly released book on the Attica prison uprising says there are thousands of documents that the state refuses to release publicly, many of which would likely reveal massive cover-ups at the highest levels.

Million Dollar Beach and Dog Beach were re-opened for swimming again by the DEC.

Polling The Senate Battlegrounds

New Yorkers For A Balanced Albany, an independent expenditure committee that backs Republican control of the state Senate, has spent $156,000 polling key battleground races that could decide power in the chamber.

Records filed with the state Board of Elections show the group paid for polling in four Long Island Senate races as well as four Hudson Valley districts.

The group polled the races facing Sens. Carl Marcellino and Kemp Hannon, as well as candidates Chris McGrath and Elaine Phillips.

Polling is also being conducted in the districts held further upstate by Sens. Bill Larkin, Terrence Murphy, Sue Serino and George Amedore.

Of those races, only McGrath is challenging a Democratic-held seat: He is facing Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a rematch from the April special election to fill the Nassau County district vacated by ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

New Yorkers For A Balanced Albany is led by Angela Dickens, the general counsel for StudentsFirstNY, a group that has backed education reform and charter school efforts in New York.

The group’s donors include hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb and heiress Alice Walton.

Judge Tosses Citizens United’s Donor Dislcosure Suit

An effort by Citizens United to block the state from enforcing donor disclosure rules has been tossed by a federal court judge on Monday, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office announce.

“Today’s decision is a victory for common sense oversight of New York’s vast nonprofit sector,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve to know their donations are protected against fraud and abuse, and today the court protected that right by dismissing each and every one of Citizen United’s claims.”

The court found the attorney general’s office did not violate the non-profit organization’s constitutional rights in requiring they disclose their largest donors before they seek funds.

The conservative group, which was the plaintiff in a successful Supreme Court court challenging limits to independent spending ushering in the super PAC era, had argued that disclosing donors would incur backlash against them.

The decision comes as new donor disclosure requirements for non-profit groups is taking effect in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed that measure, widely considered to be the chief ethics bill this year, into law earlier this month.

Citizens United Opinion by Nick Reisman on Scribd

NY-23: Plumb Ad Highlights Military Career

The second television advertisement from Democratic congressional candidate John Plumb released Monday highlights his career in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

In the ad, titled “Deserve,” Plumb vows to not just identified problems, but also come up with solutions.

“Washington’s solve-nothing approach would never be accepted in our country’s military. And from the lack of job opportunities to unaffordable college education, our middle class families work too hard and face too many challenges to let Congress get away with it for any longer,” he said in a statement. “I will hold Washington accountable and fight for our working families with the same commitment to service and hard work that I have put to practice for twenty-two years in the U.S. Navy.”

Plumb is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Tom Reed for the 23rd congressional district that includes western New York and the Southern Tier regions of the state.

NY-19: Teachout Marries

Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout on Saturday wedded a software company principal in a private ceremony, her campaign announced.

Teachout and her husband Nick Juliusburger were married in a small ceremony with friends and family in Dover Plains. The Rev. Megan Sanders of the St. Paul’s episcopal church officiated.

“We are thrilled and grateful to share our commitment to each other with those closest to us, and the community we love,” the couple said in a statement.

She is back on the campaign trail after the ceremony.

Juliusburger is a principal at Yellowish Software, specializing in software interface design.

The couple own a home together in Clinton.

Teachout is running for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley against Republican John Faso.

EPA Won’t Attend Hoosick Falls Hearing

A representative from the Environmental Protection Agency will not be attending the state Senate’s Hoosick Falls water quality hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the village, but instead will submit written testimony.

“The EPA was invited to testify but declined our invitation to participate,” said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif. “They will instead submit written testimony.”

The EPA’s decision to not have a physical presence at the meeting comes amid a strained back and forth between federal officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.

State officials have insisted the EPA’s standards for PFOA contamination in water have been inconsistent. Cuomo himself, in defending the state’s response, has said the EPA holds some responsibility over setting regulations and guidelines for chemical testing.

“I think that the EPA – this is going to be a challenge for the federal government’s EPA going forward. What chemicals should we be testing for, and what are the allowable levels of those chemicals in the water?” he said earlier this year. “That’s not just a New York challenge. It’s a national challenge.”

At the same time, the EPA pushed the state to take action on the water issues in Hoosick Falls, before declaring the water in the village unsafe to drink.

Top Cuomo administration officials, including Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos are scheduled to testify at the hearing.

NY-21: Chamber Of Commerce Endorses Stefanik

Freshman Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik on Monday was endorsed in her bid for re-election by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Stefanik, who is running for a second term in the North Country’s 21st congressional district, was cited for what the groups says is a 100 percent voting record on key issues facing businesses.

“Growing up in a small business family, I have prioritized fighting for Upstate job creation in Congress,” Stefanik said. “That is why today, I’m honored to receive the endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

Stefanik faces Democratic candidate Mike Derrick, a retired Army officer, this fall.

The region Stefanik represents has historically struggled to retain jobs amid a declining and aging population, especially within the Adirondack Park.

But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce noted Stefanik has backed a series of changes that are aimed at creating a better environment for job growth upstate.

“The Chamber of Commerce of the United States is proud to support Elise Stefanik in this race, and highlight her 100% voting record with job creators and small businesses. Her record in Congress is unrivaled in fighting for policies that will keep upstate businesses upstate and create an environment for growth,” said Eileen Braden, Vice President of Political Affairs and Federation Relations at the U.S. Chamber said, “Through her support of transportation reforms and removing regulatory burdens, she’s ensured that businesses like D.A. Collins can hire and continue to create economic opportunities in North Country.”

SD-6: CWA Endorses Cronin

From the Morning Memo:

The Communications Workers of America has endorsed Democratic Senate hopeful Ryan Cronin in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon.

The endorsement from CWA District 1 — a union that represents more than 150,000 workers — comes as the Cronin-Hannon race is among a handful of top tier battleground districts for control of the Senate this fall.

“I’m proud to receive CWA’s endorsement and the support of their hardworking men and women on Long Island,” Cronin said in a statement.

“Working families are tired of the same old failed leaders in Albany who use their experience in government to enrich themselves. CWA has been a driving force behind reducing the corrupting influence of money in politics and I look forward to standing with them as they fight for stronger ethics reforms and good-paying jobs.”

CWA is a labor group that is especially close with the labor-allied Working Families Party. Still, Hannon has received a number of labor endorsements in his own re-election effort for the Long Island district, including the politically key 1199/SEIU and the Civil Service Employees Association.

“Our members are sick and tired of politics as usual and are ready for real leadership in Albany,” said Dennis Trainor, the CWA District 1 vice president.

“We know that Ryan will fight to make it more affordable to live here, create good jobs and will clean up corruption in Albany by supporting strong ethics reforms. Our members will be working hard to deliver real change by electing Ryan to the State Senate this November.”

Libous’s Family Seeks To Erase Conviction

From the Morning Memo:

Republican former Senator Tom Libous died in May, but the effort to clear his name isn’t over, as his estate is seeking to essentially nullify his corruption conviction.

“The case is not over. Many trials get reversed,” said Paul DerOhannesian, the Libous family attorney. “There are many innocent people who are convicted of murder and are released. We saw that in New York City just this week. That’s why you want to have a full and complete process before a conviction is finalized.”

Libous was convicted last year of lying to the FBI in a case stemming from his son receiving a job at a politically connected law firm.

He still was pursuing an appeal of his conviction when he died on May 3. But without him able to challenge the conviction, his attorney Paul DerOhannesian says he still should have the right to a challenge.

And with Libous no longer alive, a successful challenge could mean the conviction isn’t just overturned, but erased entirely.

“What happens is, it’s as though there has never been an indictment or a conviction because the law feels very strongly that a person should not bare the cross and the stigma of a conviction without the opportunity to fully challenge all aspects of a criminal case,” DerOhannesian said.

Continuing to pursue the case, even after his death, was a final wish of Libous’s, who is survived by his wife and two sons.

“Tom Libous felt strongly about that. He felt strongly about his innocence,” DerOhannesian said. “He felt strongly about helping other people in pursuing this.”

If successful, DerOhannesian says the move could mean some forfeiture fines sought by the federal government would not have to be paid.