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New York’s Water Supply

Letter to the Editor:
(As it appeared in the NY Times on September 19)

Re “Clean Water Laws Neglected, at a Cost,” “Toxic Waters” series, NY Times, front page, Sept. 13):

Kudos to The Times for publishing a thorough — and thoroughly troubling — article on government’s longstanding failure to adequately enforce our nation’s clean water laws.

Though New York ranks a dismal 30th in Clean Water Act enforcement, Gov. David A. Paterson apparently thinks that New York’s enforcement program is too tough. His recently issued Executive Order 25 invites polluters to help his office repeal or rewrite regulations that business considers burdensome. Astonishingly, environmental groups will not be included in the process.

The new Regulatory Review and Reform program will not only potentially weaken or eliminate critical — and publicly vetted — environmental regulations intended to protect our air and water, but also tie up an already anemic and demoralized pollution enforcement staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation.

If Mr. Paterson wants to be viewed as a governor who represents the public interest, not the special interests, he had better rescind Executive Order 25 quickly, before New Yorkers get a taste of the polluted waters he aims to serve.

Alex Matthiessen
President, Riverkeeper
New York, Sept. 15, 2009

Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
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