Weekly Update | Friday, February 17, 2017

Table of contents

Community Corner

I was humbled and honored to pay tribute and memorialize the life of US Navy veteran Philip Minissale at Rensselaer County's Honor a Deceased Veteran event. Mr. Minissale enlisted in 1945 at the Federal Building in Albany. During his enlistment Mr. Minissale was assigned to the USS Montauk and piloted troop-landing ships. Phil Minissale earned the American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.

Recently I met Tommy Mooney, an athlete from Rensselaer County who competes in the Special Olympics. Tommy has been a Special Olympics Athlete since he was nine years old. He participates in basketball, swimming, and track and field, among many other sports. He represented New York at the Special Olympics USA Games in 2014 and completed an Athlete Leadership Program in 2016, which helped him learn public speaking and professional skills. Tommy will be participating in the 2017 Summer Games in Albany. Good luck, Tommy!

I also met with Hudson Valley Community College's President Drew Matonak and representatives to discuss the construction of an Advanced Manufacturing Technologies training facility, a $14 million project. The program trains students to become skilled technicians. To support regional manufacturing, HVCC plans to build a one-stop Advanced Manufacturing skills center in Rensselaer County that will partner with national suppliers for manufacturing companies to come and recruit/train technicians as needed.   

Hoosick Falls Update
This week I wrote a letter to newly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the importance of state and federal agencies working together to safely and responsibly resolve the contamination issue in Hoosick Falls. Read the text below:

Dear Administrator Pruitt:

I would like to offer my congratulations on your confirmation as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Over the next several years, I look forward to working with you on many important issues, including one in the 19th Congressional District in New York that is currently under review by the EPA.

On September 9, 2016, the EPA proposed to add the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Site, 14 McCaffrey Street, Hoosick Falls (“McCaffrey Street site”) to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).  A year earlier, in November 2015, the EPA had advised the Village that Hoosick Falls municipal water should not be used for drinking and cooking and recommended that alternate water be provided for users of municipal water.  The EPA’s action came after water quality tests revealed that the municipal water contained perfluorooctaonic acid (PFOA) levels far in excess of recommended levels. 

When the EPA advised the Village to stop using the water for drinking and cooking in 2015, water tests indicated that the municipal water contained PFOA levels above 600 parts per trillion (ppt).  At that time, the EPA had established a provisional health advisory level for PFOA of 400 ppt for short-term exposure.  In 2016, the EPA established a long-term exposure guideline for PFOA in drinking water of 70 ppt.     

The Village of Hoosick Falls is a small community of 3,600 residents.  When local residents raised concerns about water quality to their local officials, those officials took necessary steps to raise these concerns with appropriate state and federal officials.  Unfortunately, officials were slow to appropriately address the Village’s concerns.  Only after the EPA made its recommendation in 2015 did the appropriate state and federal agencies begin to address the Village’s needs. 

It is my understanding that the McCaffrey Street site meets the necessary requirements to be designated on the NPL and that such designation could occur as soon as March 2017.  The local residents support placing the McCaffrey Street site on the NPL and I write to offer my support for such a designation.   Even after designation, however, it is imperative that state and federal agencies, including the EPA, work together with local officials and residents to ensure the contamination is remediated and that citizens’ health and safety is protected.  

Again, congratulations on your nomination and confirmation.  I look forward to working with you on this issue as well as many others.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you believe I can be of assistance.


John J. Faso

Member of Congress
19th District of New York

Times-Journal: Faso Weighs in on New President
"No matter who's in the majority, both sides should have the ability to make policy. We have to show the country we can work together."

Read more here.

Legislative Recap
This week the House unanimously passed H.R. 512, the WINGMAN Act, by voice vote. As an original cosponsor of the WINGMAN Act, I am proud to support legislation that will greatly help streamline the claims process between our constituents and the VA. When our country needed these brave men and women, they answered the call and did not look back. We must support them. Read more here.

I also cosponsored H.R. 1090, the Technologies for Energy Security Act, which supports an all-inclusive energy policy by extending investment tax credits for fuel cells, geothermal heat pumps, microturbines, combined heat and power, and small wind and solar energy. Advancing and supporting clean energy technology creates jobs and helps enhance energy security. 

Farmers support rural economies by generating jobs and income. They steward nearly one billion acres of land and meet one of our most basic needs: producing the food our nation eats. That is why, along with Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA), I introduced H.R. 1060, the Young Farmers Success Act, a bipartisan effort to support the young farmers of America.

Committee Work

This week I had two House Agriculture Committee hearings. Wednesday's hearing was on the Rural Economic Outlook and what we can do to support our family farms and an agricultural economy. Thursday's hearing dealt with the pros and cons of restricting SNAP purchases. Click the image above or click here to watch the videos.

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