Amy Peters of Glen Cove and Sea Cliff resident John Burke were among hundreds of vocal locals who took the fight against fracking to Albany last week, riding to the state capitol in buses to show their support for a ban at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.
Long Islanders were joined by concerned citizens from across the state, who stood behind ropes before the entrance to the speech shouting, chanting and pumping “Ban Fracking” and “Save Our Water” signs. Attendees put the crowd at around 2,500; a separate protest, against gun restrictions, boasted about 20, they said. They did not see Gov. Cuomo himself, but some legislators, such as Charles Lavine, did come out to speak with the public.
For Peters, the looming threat of hydrofracking—a process for extracting natural gas from rock—in New York State brings “a strong sense of dread.” As a member of the Sustainable Sea Cliff Food Co-operative, she deals directly with the challenge of sourcing healthy fresh food. The co-op, which buys as much as it can from Long Island farmers before reaching out to farms north and west of the metro area, has already stopped sourcing from Pennsylvania, where fracking has been widespread.
“If fracking comes to New York, we’ll have a hard time purchasing locally,” she said.
As Julie Sullivan of Long Island’s Food and Water Watch describes it, “fracking”—formally known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing—is a dangerous method of drilling outward from deep wells into underground shale for gas, threatening drinking water, health, communities and the environment. Fracking in New York would involve injecting billions of gallons of fresh water, hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals and sand underground. Documented risks include earthquakes, contaminated groundwater, waste-water that contains radioactive elements, and air pollution.
“New York shale represents a nominal amount of the nation’s gas reserves. It’s simply not worth the known risks given what’s at stake in New York; not the least of which are the health risks to our children and families ranging from asthma to cancer,” said Sullivan.
“There are alternatives to gas but there are no alternatives to plentiful clean water.”
The impact on farm produce makes fracking a major concern for chefs and others in the food industry, as well as consumers. Chefs for the Marcellus, Slow Food and iEat Green were among the LI groups at the rally, which included tables showcasing (and selling) jellies, jams and baked goods from small producers. Bhavani Jaroff, a natural foods chef and activist who has taught at Old Westbury’s Wheatley School and The Waldorf School in Garden City, was among the “foodies” who made the trip.
Anti-frackers recognize the challenge to politicians under pressure from commercial interests. New York has a moratorium on fracking, but not an outright ban; the trip was meant to stiffen the governor’s resolve.
“Cuomo’s been keeping fracking at arm’s length with the moratorium and we appreciate that, but feel at times it’s for political reasons,” said Peters.
“We understand it’s hard for him to be strong on fracking politically because of jobs, energy needs and the economy,” she added, “but the jobs will be few and transient.” Agriculture is a huge part of NYS economy.
“If we lose the water, we’ll lose the farms,” said Sea Cliff’s Burke, who leads Stop the Port Ambrose LNG Export. “Once the watershed is contaminated, it can’t be made nontoxic.”
More than a dozen Long Island organizations, including LI Sierra Club, North Shore Audubon Society and Citizens Campaign for the Environment, sent members to the rally to speak for those who could not be there.
“I get a lot of people saying ‘thank you for going and representing us,’” says Amy Peters, about the reaction she has gotten in Glen Cove. “It’s not easy to take a day off to get on the bus, so I’m happy to represent.”
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00
In movies like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, a parent’s very real nightmare of inadequate child care is at the crux of the film’s storyline. So the promise of a new website with intentions to revolutionize babysitting offered new hope at the party recently held at Melville’s Jewel Restaurant to celebrate its launch.
Babysitting Barter has roughly 1,000 babysitters and 2,700 parents connected to its website nationwide, according to CEO and founder Brian Mannix of Glen Cove.
“This has been a long time coming, about four years in the works,” said Mannix. “We have built our website and I think it’s very different and innovative. It is something that I really think will make a national difference for parents, babysitters, and for businesses as well.”
Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00
The second meeting of the Powers Chemco property site at Glen Cove City Hall last Thursday night focused on health concerns in the surrounding area. Spokesmen from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Health (DOH) and other environmental experts discussed the extent of the contaminated soil and water at the site. It was a continued discussion on the proposed clean-up of the State Superfund site, which was formerly occupied by the Columbia Ribbon and Carbon
Manufacturing Company, and now located within the 15-acre Konica Minolta property.
“After careful studies, we found that the contaminated soil and water table poses no threat to nearby residences,” said Nathan Epler, a hydrogeologist from the environmental consulting and management firm Roux Associates.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
The North Shore High School swimming team completed its season with high honors this year. Both the men’s and women’s teams have qualified individual athletes for all-conference and all-county championship competitions.
Coach Samara Weitz has also been honored with the Nassau County Coach of the Year award—motivating many of her athletes to succeed throughout the season, including senior Kristen Stanis.
“She made sure I was working hard, but also having fun,” Stanis said. “She taught me how to balance work and play and how it’s important to maintain it.”
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
It was all fun and games at the fourth annual Winter Classic Hockey tournament at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage on Saturday, Feb. 8. Young adults and kids of all ages from the Long Island Blues Hockey team faced off against three other teams in the event that gives individuals with special needs the opportunity to play ice hockey in an accommodating setting.
Michael Russo, founder of the Long Island Blues team, said he started the program 10 years ago so his son, Nicholas, who has autism, could play hockey.