Joining the Call for Good Science Regarding Niagara by Kitty McCullough

In response to a recent “Letter to the Editor” in the Daily Freeman “Let Science, not emotion, decide water bottling plant issue.” by Robert J. Ryan Jr.


By Kitty McCullough

Bob Ryan urges that science guide decision-making about the Niagara project; I strongly agree.

Kingston’s water capacity was  last evaluated in 1961 — 53  years ago. Both scientific methods and existing conditions have changed extensively over that time. Nevertheless,  Kingston Water Department (KWD)  issued a “will serve” letter to Niagara last September that closed by saying, “welcome to Kingston.” Is it good science to use data more than 50 years out of date?

Mr. Ryan notes that KWD has engaged an independent engineering consultant to conduct impact analysis. Wouldn’t science put updated analysis ahead of proceeding as if there is a foregone conclusion?

NY State requires Environmental Review to ensure good science. KWD signed off on an Environmental Assessment Form that assumes the whole project is only to build a bottling plant. The science concerning the source of the water, its transfer to the plant, and the expulsion of waste water into Esopus Creek were overlooked in filling out the form. This is both bad science and illegal under NYS law, and could expose Kingston to costly legal action.

When Water Superintendent Hansen presented her case to Common Council, I sat next to a geophysicist. That scientist said there is no question there will be extensive impact on hydrology and precipitation if Niagara is permitted to remove more than a million gallons of water per day from Kingston’s reservoir.  Science today creates “models” to understand total impact. Good science requires the results of such modeling studies BEFORE commitment is made.

Mr. Ryan’s account of Kingston’s water usage overlooks that Niagara seeks more than 25% of Kingston’s water capacity and virtually all of our remaining capacity.  His misleading sound bites could prompt us to make a commitment to Niagara that compromises our ability to create quality jobs in Kingston and at Tech City. The Niagara project could compromise our economy, our health and our quality of life.

I strongly urge Kingston citizens to review ALL of the facts surrounding this issue

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