Following a request from the Rockland Water Coalition, the NY Department of Environmental Conservation has now put a link on its home page to information about the Haverstraw Water Supply Project. Wendy Rosenbach, a DEC spokesperson, said the link is included under the “New From DEC” heading.
The link connects to a page providing background about United Water’s proposed and documents with additional information.
George Potanovic, a member of the Coalition, said they sent a letter to the DEC’s Regional Commissioner William Janeway also asking for a longer public comment period, more than one public hearing on the proposal and for it to require United Water to pay for independent experts to evaluate the 4,000-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Currently, the only public hearing scheduled is on Tuesday March 6 at 2 and 6 p.m. at Haverstraw Town Hall. The Coalition, along with other advocacy groups, has organized a public forum for Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at Clarkstown Town Hall.
Organizations joining the Coalition include: AARP Rockland, Food & Water Watch, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Riverkeeper, Rockland Sierra Club, West Branch Conservation Association and others.
The organization had been critical of the way the project information was posted.
“The mechanism for delivering the document is contrived and difficult to reach,” Potanovic said. “The objective is to make the public aware.”
He said the agency was relying on the applicant, United Water, to provide the information and not fulfilling its role as the lead agency. Potanovic also criticized the way the DEIS appeared on the United Water website.
“You’re letting the applicant basically use a promotional tool to host the DEIS,” he said.
He said the DEIS was prepared to answer questions included in a 29 page scoping document that was finalized in June 2009. The DEIS includes answers to the questions and provides the information that was sought.
Potanovic explained the Coalition asked for funding for experts so that there is more than just one source of information, which would be United Water’s paid experts.
“The reason we asked for that is we feel it is putting us on a more even footing to review the documents,” he said.