Cupon’s Column: Are the DEC and EPA Paper Tigers?

In our past articles, CUPON has focused on the DEC and EPA’s failure to act to protect our environment, specifically our drinking water and wetlands. It seems like these government agencies are allowing developers to continually break the law. Our question is why?

Our last few articles have been primarily focused on two areas, although there are hundreds more. One location is on Hillside Ave (Ramapo and Airmont, NY) and the other is in South Blooming Grove, Orange County.

The Hillside Ave has 3 large developments planned. The Mikvah Site (77-85 Hillside Ave, Ramapo, NY) has been pumping dirty water into the Saddle River since June 2022. As noted in previous articles, water runoff from construction sites is one of the primary sources of water pollution. The developer was issued a citation for the pumping and ordered to stop when it first occurred in June 2022 but has continued to dump dirty water from its site into the Saddle River periodically, especially during periods of heavy rain. 

On Friday, Jan 27 th , 2023 the developer was once again dumping into the stream. Neighbors downhill of the Mikvah are reporting increased runoff and damage to their properties as many feared and expressed to the Town of Ramapo during public hearings held for the project. 

CUPON has reached out to the DEC to ask when they will be fining the developer.  As of the writing of this article, the DEC still has not fined the developer.

Since September of 2022, the Clovewood building project has been issued six violations and stop work orders, yet construction is continuing. Thursday, January 26th, New York State Senator James Skoufis held a press conference addressing the DEC’s inaction regarding the Clovewood project and demanded they do their job.

 The next day, Friday, January 27th, journalist Blaise Gomez from News 12 went to South Blooming Grove Village Hall seeking a comment. Joel Stern, the Confidential Assistant to South Blooming Grove Mayor George Kalaj, kept changing the subject.

 Ms. Gomez was followed and threatened after she left Village Hall and drove to the Clovewood project.  CUPON applauds Senator Skoufis and Ms. Gomez’s efforts, although CUPON feels it should not require a Senator and an investigative journalist to intervene for the DEC to do its job.

Based on CUPON volunteer’s experience with these two projects, it appears the New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation is failing to carry out one of its primary functions, to protect New York States’ natural resources.

We are all waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of the press conference.

Sadly, according to Blaize Gomez, the developer was back to work the day after the Senator’s press conference. She also posted a video of her and her crew being followed by Village of South Blooming Groves officials and threatening her.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login