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County Executive Hosting Ulster Watershed Forum

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-1001140.mp3

Stone Ridge, NY – Ulster County Executive Mike Hein has scheduled a public forum tonight to address local concerns surrounding from the way the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is handling its reservoir system. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Hein has thrown down the gauntlet before New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over waterways Hein claims have suffered damage by the city's Department of Environmental Protection. Earlier this month, the county executive sent an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg, inviting him to tour and discuss the many serious issues facing local waterways. Bloomberg has been quoted saying he doesn't understand where Hein is coming from -or what he's talking about.

Hein's main concerns: the DEP not paying its fair share of taxes, the leaking Delaware Aqueduct and releases of tainted water. Mayor Bloomberg's office deferred requests for comment to the DEP - Farrell Sklerov is spokesman for the agency. He explains the murky waters are due to weather and related factors including an interim protocol to reduce reservoir levels. Sklerov adds that New York City pays more than $130-million dollars every year in taxes upstate, and engages in cooperative relationships with local municipalities.

Ulster County and Riverkeeper recently filed a petition with the state DEC asking for enforcement of the state Clean Water Act regarding reservoir releases. DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Marc Gerstman says the agency is looking forward to the the forum, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Quimby Theater of Ulster County Community College, at Vanderlyn Hall, 491 Cottekill Road in Stone Ridge.