Gennaro Blasts Governor’s Energy Plan
It was business as usual this Christmas season for city Councilmember James Gennaro, who found no joy in Governor David Paterson’s energy plan. Gennaro blasted the plan because, he claims, it would jeopardize the city drinking water supply in the Catskills.
The governor’s energy plan supports unconventional gas drilling, which is great for natural gas companies, but would threaten New York City’s water supply, which is based in the Catskills and provides drinking water to half the state’s residents, according to Gennaro (D–Fresh Meadows), chairman of the council Environmental Protection Committee.
Gennaro is flat out against the plan to authorize the new system of drilling, also known as hydraulic fracturing, which the governor favors.
The controversy concerning the proposed new drilling method to extract natural gas in the Catskills will come before the state legislature sometime soon since the governor’s energy plan must be approved by the state’s lawmakers.
Given the recent relations between Paterson and the legislature, which he has ordered back to Albany on several occasions, the energy plan is likely to provide another major clash in the state capital.
In a recent statement Gennaro said, “As a geologist and environmental policy maker who has worked on watershed protection issues for over 30 years, I regard the governor’s desire to open this water supply to the inherently polluting process of hydraulic fracturing gas drilling as sheer folly.
“If this ill-advised policy were to advance and this water supply opened to this type of gas drilling, it would, in my opinion, rank among the worst policy decisions in the history of the state.
“It is beyond unacceptable to imperil the New York City Water Supply Watershed, the crown jewel of big-city water supplies in the country, for the sake of some short-term economic benefit from natural gas revenues.”
Gennaro promised to do everything in his power to use his council committee chairmanship to get Governor Paterson and his administration to appreciate the “disastrous and irreversible consequences of this proposed policy and reverse course before it is too late”.
MAJOR BATTLE LOOMS WHEN SENATE HEALTH REFORM COMES BACK TO HOUSE: If the U.S. Senate approves its health insurance plan with provisions for Medicaid changes that could cost New York state several billion dollars, it will likely set off a major battle by New York City’s congressional delegation, who voted for their own healthcare plan several weeks ago with provisions in it to save the state $4 billion.
About a week ago, Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote New York’s U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand a letter urging them to fight for changes in the Senate plan that are inimicalto the state’s interests, but no word has come down from the senators or anyone else that those changes were made. We trust Congressmembers Joseph Crowley, Carolyn Maloney, Anthony Weiner, Gregory Meeks and Gary Ackerman have developed a fight plan to get the provisions that are favorable to New York in the final bill that passes.
MAYOR VETOES BILL DEFEATING BRONX MALL DEVELOPMENT: The City Council will soon consider Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the legislation rejected overwhelmingly by the council, which blocked a $300 million shopping mall development in The Bronx that would have created 2,200 jobs in the borough with the highest unemployment rate in the city.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn, generally an ally of the mayor, was among those who voted against him by a 45-to-1 count. Unless the mayor has hatched a miracle plan to overturn that vote, there is little chance that his veto will be carried, and the mall development plan resurrected.
SEEK FUNDS FOR BEACH REPAIRS: Before last weekend’s snowstorm, a mid-December noreaster dumped several inches of rain on us and caused millions of dollars worth of damage to the Rockaway beachfront and to beaches farther east on Long Island.
Now U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressmembers Anthony Weiner and Gregory Meeks, among others, have petitioned President Barack Obama for immediate funding for beach repairs to get the shore ready for next summer.
In the letter to the president requesting federal disaster aid, Schumer noted the storm had left the Rockaways and Suffolk beaches “vulnerable to dune breaches, flooding and damage to nearby homes and roads when the next storm hits”.
The next storm came sooner than Schumer and the others might have imagined, as Gillibrand pleaded with the president, “We cannot sit here and wait for a severe winter storm to devastate coastal communities.”
Meeks, whose district includes the Rockaways, told the president he had personally witnessed the beachfront devastation and had “real concerns how this will further affect our communities and our economy”.
Weiner, whose Queens/Brooklyn district adjoins Meeks’, stated, “We are now one windy day away from losing substantial parts of New York’s coastline, and that is unacceptable.”
Chances are good that the president will respond to these pleas. The damage estimate in Suffolk county was about $35 million, well above the required minimum to qualify for federal disaster aid.
ADDABBO REACHES OUT TO PURPLE HEART VETS: State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Howard Beach), who serves on the Veterans’ Committee, is encouraging all veterans who received the Purple Heart medal to record that information in a permanent place so there will be a long-lasting record of it. The place to do that, he says, is the Roll of Honor at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, New York, about 10 miles north of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Addabbo explained: The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect, preserve and ultimately share the record of all Purple Heart recipients. The Roll of Honor is an electronic database created to preserve and present the stories of Purple Heart recipients. It can be accessed at eight interactive computer kiosks at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, and there is also an abbreviated online version which can be accessed from any computer. Visitors to the Hall can learn about individual Purple Heart recipients by reading short narratives and looking at the photographs and other documents that have been submitted to the Hall of Honor.
Registration is voluntary, Addabbo said. Visit the Web site at www.thepurpleheart.com, contact The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, P.O. Box 207, Vails Gate, New York 12584- 0207, call 845-561-1765 or 877-284-6667 or FAX 845-569-0382.