June 25, 2012

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Hinchey receives Riverkeeper's Clean Water Champion Award

Hinchey: “You need the people who are elected to
understand they have the responsibility ..."

KINGSTON – Congressman Maurice Hinchey was declared Clean Water Champion for 2012, at the annual Riverkeeper ceremony held at Keegan Ales brewery in Kingston Sunday afternoon.

Formerly known as Champion of the Waterways, the award commemorates exemplary service working towards Riverkeeper's goal of creating a drinkable, swimmable and fishable Hudson River, in the spirit of the Clean Water Act.

Sunday's event, named Save Our Beer, was hosted by the Water Rangers Coalition, including numerous environmental advocacy organizations such as Catskill Mountainkeeper. The day-long program focused on the dangers of hydrofracking to public drinking water supplies.

Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay had words of praise for the congressman.

“The things Hinchey has achieved, is a veritable master class in public service,” he said. “This man has made a career out of honorable public service,” Gallay said, citing Hinchey's long record. “It could fill a textbook.”

Hinchey, who will retire at the end of the year, said he remains in recovery from cancer surgery which saved his life, claiming that his memory has been affected.

“Sometimes when I have to speak, and remember some of the specific things to mention, that doesn't happen,” Hinchey explained.

Coached by the audience, Hinchey was led back on track to the issue of hydrofracking. He recalled the federal regulations which once required full disclosure of fracking fluid ingredients, but the Bush administration provided loopholes for energy companies to pollute water without revealing toxic byproducts.

“You need the people who are elected to understand they have the responsibility to the people they represent,” Hinchey said. “All of those things need to be done. There's a lot of them down there right now who don't know that.”

This fall’s elections may change that, Hinchey noted.

Hinchey told his admirers he'd be returning to Washington to finish his term, but will take off for the month of August.


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