While it is true that the issues related to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” are not simple we should not be influenced by much of the misinformation that has been disseminated and we should base our decisions on the facts and develop a regulatory regime which can assure safety and environmental sensitivity.
It is ironic that natural gas development, which can reduce carbon emissions by a third compared to oil and a half compared to coal, is caught in an emotional debate over environmental impacts. As businessman and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, using data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, this abundant new gas source has reduced our oil imports from 60 percent in 2005 to 47 percent today. Recent events in the Middle East should reinforce the need for a U.S. energy policy based on domestic natural gas.
It’s hard to believe 2011 has come to an end. Let’s all hope 2012 will ring in health, peace and prosperity for all. On behalf of myself, the executive board and board of directors, please accept our very best wishes to you and your families for a Happy New Year.
Our special thanks to everyone who participated in the Toys for Tots Program. You’re toy donations helped the less fortunate children enjoy their holiday.
As representatives of many voices in the breast cancer community on Long Island, our coalition urges Governor Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State since 25 percent of chemicals used in the fracking process have been demonstrated to cause cancer or mutations. Hydrofracking companies use products containing 13 different known and suspected carcinogens. Two of those carcinogens, benzene and ethylene oxide are linked with breast cancer as cited recently by a report released by the Institute of Medicine.
Moreover, 37 percent of chemicals in fracking fluids are endocrine disruptors which alter hormonal signaling and in doing so can place cells on the pathway to tumor formation. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has been implicated in cancers of the breast, prostate, pituitary, testicle, and ovary.
Recent Op-Ed pieces in prominent newspapers have suggested that with proper regulatory oversight, hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” can be accomplished safely in New York, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and bringing much needed economic benefits to hard-hit areas of the state. If the issue was that simple, and if the statements were true, surely everyone would be in favor.
But the facts don’t support these statements, and the issue is not as simple as the TV ads would have citizens believe. Fracking is an inherently dangerous and destructive extreme form of energy extraction that brings with it a myriad of serious environmental and economic problems. Now that we have the opportunity to see how fracking has actually impacted citizens in Pennsylvania and other states, we can more easily distinguish fact from fantasy and make smarter choices for New York.
A few weeks ago, in an attempt to fight off a cold, I ordered a bowl of chicken soup at a local lunch counter. One of the counter boys who is in his late teens asked me if I heard that the United States was just declared a war-zone by the U.S. Senate. I said, “What are you talking about?”
He filled me in. But what he told me didn’t fully compute. What he said, in a nutshell, was that the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would empower the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens and detain them anywhere in the world without being charged or without a trial. I didn’t want to be dismissive. I questioned myself, “Why didn’t I hear about this in the mainstream media?”
Don’t let the unseasonably warm weather fool you. Winter is coming soon, and things are going to get frosty before you know it! Cold weather can cause serious problems for household water pipes and sprinkler systems. Each winter, your pipes can freeze and possibly burst, potentially costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. While these issues affect many homeowners each year, there are a variety of quick, easy steps that you can take to protect your home from water-related damage and unnecessary expenses during the winter months.
In order to avoid damaging pipes, sprinkler systems should be winterized before the temperature dips below freezing. Make sure to drain and turn off your sprinkler system before the start of the winter season. Also be sure to drain outside faucets and turn off all other outside water sources to prevent freezing and breaks. Additionally, check your water meter pit cover to ensure that it is intact and firmly bolted down. Shutting off and draining all water service lines to unheated structures until spring will prevent breaks to these lines.
(The following is a copy of a letter from State Senator Charles Fuschillo and the Long Island Senate Delegation to the LIPA Board of Trustees opposing LIPA’s rate increase proposal, printed here at the author’s request. The letter was read at a recent LIPA public hearing regarding its rate increase proposal)
We are writing to urge you to reject a proposal to increase LIPA rates as part of its proposed 2012 budget.
The Nassau County Legislature has scheduled a hearing next week on a contract between Veolia Transportation and Nassau County outlining the terms of a public-private operating partnership to operate Long Island Bus. The contract gives the county control over its own transit system for the first time, offering a significantly higher level of control and oversight than it has with the MTA as system operator.
The county negotiated significant oversight in its contract with Veolia to protect riders, workers and taxpayers. This contract stands in stark contrast to the relationship the County had with the MTA, in which the County had little to no control over routes, service levels or how funds were invested and service planned. The county’s contract with Veolia gives it control in numerous ways, including:
Year by year, Long Island loses ground, yet we seem to resist making changes. I wonder: What will it take to get us moving?
Back in 2004, the first Long Island Index uncovered the extent of the Brain Drain. The exodus of talented young people, and the underlying need for more affordable housing, received much public and media attention, and in a poll later that year, 72 percent of Long Islanders rated the lack of affordable housing as either a “Very Serious” or “Extremely Serious” problem. Yet in the years since, we’ve made hardly any progress.
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