October 5, 2012

Will Cuomo make the right energy decisions?

Just when we thought that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was going to yield to industry pressure to open up parts of the state for natural gas drilling, he announced this week that he will be extending the comment period for a new round of studies.

Mr. Cuomo is ultimately going to have some tough decisions, but with this one, he is buying himself some time. He knows that to say no to hydrofracking — and to live up to his campaign promise to close Indian Point — he is going to have to prove to New Yorkers that he can replace these sources with clean, sustainable energy.

While nuclear energy and hydrofracking have seemingly little in common, their role in state politics may eventually be intertwined. Entergy’s two nuclear plants in Buchanan, Indian Point II and Indian Point III, are coming up for relicensing in 2013 and 2015. The newly-announced hydrofracking review will likely take the project decision into late-2013.

Along with natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale, Mr. Cuomo will be considering a broader state energy policy — and his promise to voters to close Indian Point, the nuclear plant located 40 miles from New York City and about 15 miles from Katonah and Bedford. The plant is widely considered at risk for accident or terrorism, and the evacuation plan has been rejected by county executives in surrounding counties. The plant kills aquatic life by the billions and radioactive leaks pose risk to our local waters.

Experts and residents recognize that creating new radioactive fuel rods at Indian Point when there is no viable long-term storage solution is risky business. This week’s drill at Indian Point conducted by the state’s department of homeland security notwithstanding, independent and government safety analyses on all levels have been unable to support an evacuation plan that could safely move Westchester’s residents — as well as Rockland, Orange, Putnam and others — out of harm’s way.

Despite the loss of Indian Point’s energy to the grid, Mr. Cuomo, the New York State Independent Systems Operators and the Public Service Commission have indicated that this energy can be replaced, and a lot more cheaply than the trillion dollar liability that the region would face in the event of a serious accident, not to mention terrorist incident.

A Riverkeeper/NRDC study listed four major alternatives to Indian Point’s nuclear power. One is upgrading homes and businesses so that they are more energy efficient. Second is the use of renewable power sources, including solar and wind, generated in either western New York or far offshore. A third alternative to Indian Point’s nuclear energy is upgrading the electric grid, while the fourth is updating existing dirty natural gas plants, or building new plants, with more energy efficient and less polluting technology.

If these or other innovations can be shown to provide affordable and sustainable energy in our near future, we can realistically envision decommissioning Indian Point as a working reactor as well as obviate the need for a risky natural gas drilling process that could jeopardize our water systems and pockmark our lands.

We are fortunate to live in a region with abundant energy resources. It will require tremendous political courage for Mr. Cuomo to say no to both Entergy and to gas drillers in New York. But, he can do it by pointing out the health and aesthetic benefits of a healthy environment, the insurance value of protecting our watershed and waterways, and the economic benefit of fostering green energy.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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