Opponents of United Water’s proposed desalination plant in Haverstraw spoke out against the plant at Wednesday night’s Rockland County Legislature meeting during the public comments portion of the meeting.
There was no vote on anything relating to the desalination plant at the meeting, but the environmental committee is schedule to meet next Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. to discuss two possible resolutions relating to the plant.
Natalie Patasaw, chair of the Rockland Environmental Management Council, said there are too many uncertainties surrounding the plant for it to be allowed.
“We have too many unanswered questions regarding the real needs of such an expensive source of water supply,” she said. “Additionally, there are too many conflicting statements about the actual need for this water source above all alternatives, including conservation."
She added that so many public comments and questions have been raised that she thinks more research is needed.
“How can we responsibly proceed without taking all of this into consideration?” she said. “If it’s rushed into service without further study and analysis, more reasonably priced alternatives will be overlooked.”
Tom O’Reilly read a statement from former legislator and retired FDNY lieutenant Bob Jackson aimed at United Water New York.
“In your mailings I have seen a photo of a burning house and another photo of a dripping fire hose nozzle,” Jackson wrote. “I have heard one of your radio commercials in which a person says, ‘What if there’s no water to put out a fire?’ I have spoken with fire officials in Rockland County and I am told that there has never been a situation in which there was not a sufficient water supply to extinguish a fire.
“For you to suggest that without a desalination plant, the firefighters in Rockland County would not have a sufficient water supply to fight fires in the future is despicable.”
The desalination plant wasn’t the only item discussed at the meeting, however. Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s meeting:
- The legislature voted unanimously in favor of a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and all five towns for the operation of a regional investigation resource center for the period of Aug. 1, 2012 through July 31, 2013. Legislator Ed Day praised District Attorney Thomas Zugibe for his efforts. “He’s found a way to make things work in difficult times, and I think it’s important that we recognize that because that’s exactly the kind of thing we need here in order to make government work, and importantly, to make the mission of law enforcement work,” Day said.
- The public hearing for the 2013 county budget was set for Nov. 20 at 7:05 p.m.
- The legislature approved an appropriation of $25,793 in funds requested by the sheriff to cover Rockland County Police Academy’s services of the director, use of force coordinator, in-service coordinator and basic school coordinator through the end of this calendar year, with funds anticipated through the collection of additional public safety fee revenue over what is currently budgeted for 2012 for the police academy.
- The sheriff’s request for $43,200 in federal forfeiture funds was also approved. The funds will go to the police academy for lighting and equipment for the police range.