Working Class Water Supply Threatened by Business Interests
By Michael Boyajian
For hundreds of years European settlers stole from Native Americans while our government gave into demands of land grabbers, gold seekers and business interests until the Native American population was wiped out in what was perhaps the greatest genocide of all time.
Now these business interests have turned their eyes on the pure water supply of Fishkill, Philiptown and Beacon. These developers want to pave over the purest aquifer in the state that threatens the water of 45,000 residents while also disturbing archaeological remains of New York's Valley Forge, the Fishkill Supply Depot and overcrowding already maxed out and taxed out school districts all in the name of residential development and all with the support of the local government, the Town of Fishkill.
Well a group of dedicated citizens gathered recently for a rally against the development. They were led by county legislator Joel Tyner, Mara Farrell of the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot, Peter Rostenberg of the Fishkill Ridge Caretakers and a country doctor, Dr. David Eberle. The group spoke passionately about the threat to the aquifer which is just three feet below the planned development site. They worried that road salt, pesticides, fertilizer, motor oil and radiator fluid will leech into this aquifer and are afraid that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will do nothing to block the plan.
The attorney for the developer also showed up and tried to undermine the rally by distracting the press, interrupting speakers and talking in a condescending manner to the ordinary people who had gathered there at one point asking if anyone in the crowd had gone to law school. One woman shouted out that she took off from work to be here and she will not be able to afford the tax increase caused by the project. It should be noted that the attorney is a Republican leader in the area, the developer is a Republican donor, and the local government's board is entirely Republican making for a very incestuous relationship.
Without good water these communities will become a ghost town beyond the scale of Love Canal. As Katrina and the government killed New Orleans this developer and the local government will kill this working class enclave. The residents of this area work with their hands living paycheck to paycheck with their homes being the biggest investment they have especially after Wall Street fat cats wiped out their savings and they are now on the verge of being disenfranchised by their own government.
These working people don't turn to guns and religion. They are quite content to hold in their fears and go about their lives through scouting with their kids and going to the local minor league baseball park for $8 seats. You might find many of them just walking the aisles at the Fishkill Walmart on a Friday night or even visiting the second run movie cinema where you can get a seat for two bucks.
Yet the developer is moving ahead with their plans with the support of the government and will jeopardize the quality of life of thousands for a couple of hundred trailer homes. Greed drove frenzied settlers a few hundred years ago and greed drives these developers today making this water supply just an inconvenient truth on the path to riches for a select few.