Clarifies Power Plant Fears
To The Editor:
A great deal of misinformation about power plant emissions has appeared recently in the press and in public forums. I would like to clarify some of the issues.
First of all, the New York Power Authority shares the community’s concerns over air quality in Western Queens. That’s one of the main reasons we are planning on building a new combined-cycle plant on the grounds of our Charles Poletti Power Project. Combined-cycle plants are vastly more efficient and cleaner than traditional fossil fuel power plants. The addition of a combined-cycle plant on the Poletti site, along with our public policy commitment to reduce the capacity factor of the existing plant by 70 percent, will significantly reduce emissions while still allowing us to meet the electricity needs of our customers throughout Queens and New York City.
Concern for the environment is a vital part of the New York Power Authority’s mission to serve New York and its residents. Our energy efficiency programs have improved lighting in thousands of public buildings while cutting the demand for electricity; we’ve helped the New York City Housing Authority replace hundreds of thousands of old refrigerators with efficient units that require far less electricity to operate; we’re in the vanguard of Governor George Pataki’s commitment to advance the use of electric and hybrid vehicles to cut emissions; we’re helping to rid schools in Queens and the rest of New York City of dirty coal-burning furnaces by providing state-of-the-art boilers, and we’re heavily involved in research on alternate fuels and technologies.
Efficiency projects we’ve already completed in Queens have reduced the amount of harmful pollutants by approximately 37,000 tons.
Even our existing power plant in Astoria is the newest and one of the cleanest large power plants in the city of New York. Originally built to burn oil only, the plant was converted two decades ago to allow the use of cleaner-burning natural gas, currently the "fuel of preference" at the plant. There are, however, times of high electricity demand and low availability of natural gas that require high utilization of the existing plant in order to meet our responsibilities to the residents of Queens and the rest of the city.
It is our belief that by providing highly efficient generation facilities in a new combined-cycle plant, we will be able to continue to provide the power our customers need and at the same time dramatically reduce our emissions level.
This is a complex issue, attempting to balance the need for adequate, reliable electricity with the necessity of improving our air quality. There are plenty of questions about the issue and we have plenty of answers. I have described our proposals at numerous meetings of concerned citizens, civic groups and community forums. I will be happy to discuss our proposal with any group of Western Queens residents who care to contact me at 626-8239.
The New York Power Authority is proud of a long record of cooperation with the communities in which we operate. We look forward to continue working with government and civic leaders and ordinary residents of Queens in helping us develop an acceptable plan that will allow us to continue to supply power and other benefits to them, while at the same time helping improve air quality.
Regional Manager of Community Relations
New York Power Authority
Oppose More LAG Flights
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
Hon. Rodney Slater
U.S. Department of Transportation
Dear Secretary Slater:
I am writing at this time to again express my vehement opposition to what is about to become the largest expansion of aviation traffic in decades. As many as 300 additional daily flights will soon be added to the already congested skies above LaGuardia Airport when small commuter planes withStage 3 engines begin flying.
As the Speaker of the New YorkCity Council and the representative of the Council District that includes LaGuardia Airport, I have spent years fighting repeated efforts to increase the number of flights at both LaGuardia and [J.F.] Kennedy [International] Airports.
I have done this because I understand first-hand what airport traffic, even under the limits imposed by the High Density Rule, has meant for surrounding communities. Increasing flights above LaGuardia is always especially problematic because of its small size and close proximity to residential areas.Residents live in constant noise and worries about health, pollution and safety.
Proponents of this account point out that the new planes will be small newly-built regional jets with 70 or fewer seats and quiet Stage 3 engines. But under a burden of 300 more daily flights, even the most state-of-the-art "quiet" jets will increase noise levels.
By copy of this letter, I am calling upon our CongressionalDelegation to take whatever steps are necessary to reverse this harmful course of action.
Needed: Tax Relief
To The Editor:
Yes, it is true that I have been urging tax relief of one form or another for the better part of seven years. Boring, right? I know it is not exciting and I know we have all heard that for some reason the taxpayer is not overly concerned with this subject, all things being equal.
It is also true that it is not the best kept secret that New York consumers pay what amounts to a hidden premium on virtually every product and service they buy for their families and businesses. That is because at some stage of production or distribution the cost of paying New York’s gross receipts tax (GRT) on energy purchases has to be absorbed. Typically this means it must be absorbed by you and me.
It therefore stands to reason then that you do not have to own a company that is a high energy user to be concerned about the negative impact this tax has on our economy, your business or even your own family’s budget. Everyone I know cares about making ends meet ... even if they find questions of tax policy less than stimulating.
Nonetheless, if this is not enough to convince you that this tax should be eliminated ... consider that the state’s gross receipts tax can increase your electricity and natural gas purchases by 3.25 percent and that a repeal of the GRT will mean a $500 million cut in statewide energy costs. Numbers of this magnitude can effect all kind of choices and opportunities for New Yorkers of all walks of life.
Fortunately the prospects are good that this regressive tax will be repealed in this budget cycle if we let our concerns be known to our elected officials in Albany right now. I’ve been in contact with a number of elected officials in both houses and the response has been encouraging. Moreover both the Business Council of New York State, Inc. and the Queens Chamber of Commerce have been very successful in getting the word out. However, like every vote, every letter and phone call counts at this crucial time.
I urge the editorial board of The Western Gazette and its readership to support the ongoing efforts to repeal New York’s GRT.
Vince Tabone, Esq.
36th Assembly Distrtict Republican County Committee
[P.S. Persons requiring more information should log on to www.lobby.com/bcgrt]