Today’s Journal News reports failing grades for air quality for counties in the lower Hudson Valley, and notes that Rockland is the only county in the area that does not have an air quality monitoring station. Rockland had an air quality monitoring station for years. It was situated next to the open-pit mine owned by Tilcon in West Nyack. Last fall, the station was permanently closed. Environmentalists and activists had relied on that station to track particulate matter eminating from the mine and other sources. About two years ago, the EPA gave the NYS DEC a grant to purchase and install a permanent station in Rockland. That process has been held up for two years now and it seems likely that if the station ever gets sited, it will be over in Pomona or in some other unpopulated area. Activists will no longer have the access to information regarding particulate matter emissions from the mine site, and there will be a break in the continuity of year-to-year information and trends in air quality and particulate matter.
I fear that politics has played a material role in the removal of the monitoring station and that politics is playing another role in siting the station in a remote part of the county. Rockland has one of the highest asthma rates in the state, and the particulate matter from the open-pit mine moves east with the breezes towards Nyack. Valley Cottage and Nyack residents have been complaining for years about the particulate matter and other issues related to the Tilcon mine.
Assemblyperson Ken Zebrowski, Jr. has been working hard to get the air quality monitoring station up and running again, but wil limited success.
Only community advocacy can get the permanent station sited. Only common sense can get it sited in an appropriate place. It belongs where the old station was so that there can be a continuity of data form prior years. If anyone wants more information or wants to get involved, please email me at the address below.