NY Gov. Hochul Signs Legislation Enabling Public Water in Nassau County

Advocates applaud the move as a critical blow to corporate control of water in the region

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Clean Water

For Immediate Release

Yesterday, Governor Hochul signed legislation establishing two new public water authorities in Nassau County. The bills were passed by the New York legislature in June, and have been awaiting the Governor’s signature to enable the process of taking public control of the water systems currently owned and operated by American Water on Long Island. The move comes two days after New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly to approve a Constitutional right to water in the state.

Advocates hailed the move as a powerful blow to the corporate control of water in New York and an essential step towards better service and more affordable, cleaner water. In New York, private water systems like American Water were found to charge almost twice the amount of their public counterparts, making this a critical victory for public ownership of essential water services. Joseph M. Varon, a West Hempstead resident and volunteer with Food & Water Watch said:

“Since becoming governor, Kathy Hochul has demonstrated tremendous leadership in opposing corporate control and abuse of our most vital resources — the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the climate we rely on. Water is a human right — one now enshrined in New York’s constitution — and Governor Hochul’s actions are a major step towards honoring that right on Long Island.”

“We are so thankful and grateful to Governor Hochul for recognizing this injustice and signing the North Shore Water Authority Legislation into law,” said Agatha Nadel, Director of North Shore Concerned Citizens. “We are also so thankful and grateful to Senator Gaughran and Assemblymen Lavine, Montesano and Ra for their leadership and support in getting this legislation unanimously passed. We have suffered under this private water debacle of astronomical rates, never ending surcharges/taxes, water quality issues and lame customer service for way too long. Water is a necessity of life and should always be in the public’s trust — not by private companies who profit from this resource and are accountable to their shareholders. Our time has arrived to cross over the finish line to affordable public water.”

“Glad to see the governor has done the right thing. For the 113,000 NYAW customers in Hempstead, it is now up to the town and the county legislature to do the right thing and appoint independent, non-partisan, non-political commissioners to this new authority with the financial, environmental, civic and legal expertise to implement the public takeover authorized by this legislation,” said Dave Denenberg, Co-Director of LI Clean Air Water & Soil.

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]