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Protestors Line Up Near Water Pipeline Construction Site

About 50 protestors gathered this morning near a water pipeline construction site in New York’s Orange County. They say the pipeline should not be going in the ground without permits in place for a larger project.

The Village of Kiryas Joel has an application before the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to construct and connect to a well in Cornwall to supplement its potable water supply. The DEC is reviewing the application, and would have to issue a water-supply permit to allow construction of the well. The DEC did, however, issue a SPDES permit, or general permit for stormwater discharges associated with construction activity; it's the only DEC permit required for the current pipeline construction. And village officials have secured the other permits from other agencies needed to construct the pipeline. In addition, Kiryas Joel officials propose connecting to the Catskill Aqueduct in New Windsor, which falls under the purview of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The Cornwall well and the Catskill Aqueduct are two separate actions, yet protestors say no pipe should be going in the ground without all permits from all agencies.

That’s Town of Woodbury Supervisor John Burke.

He says his well will draw roughly 500,000 gallons per day, and the proposed well for Kiryas Joel, some 600,000 gallons per day. The DEC comment period on the proposed well has closed, and Burke and others have asked DEC officials for a hearing on the matter. A DEC spokeswoman says DEC officials are considering the request.

Democratic State Assemblyman James Skoufis was among the protestors.

Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Mayor Brendan Coyne says he is concerned about the segmented way in which Kiryas Joel officials are going about the project.

Protestor Shlome Katz lives outside the Village of Kiryas Joel, a predominantly Hasidic Jewish community. He carried a sign reading, “The K.J. Village and its actions are forbidden according to the Jewish faith.  Jewdaism [sic] dictates subservience and peace.”

He says village officials should be more neighborly.

There has been tension between surrounding communities and Kiryas Joel for years over a number of issues. Here’s protestor Donna McGoldrick, who lives in nearby South Blooming Grove.

And by community, she refers to Kiryas Joel.

Calls to the spokesman for the Village of Kiryas Joel were not returned in time for this broadcast.

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