The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

April 22, 2011


Top 10 environmental concerns


In our area, it is something of a cliche to say that “Every day is Earth Day.” Unlike some suburbs, buffered by urban sprawl, in northern Westchester we inhabit a rich and forested landscape, neighbor to neighbor with creatures of land, water and air. While each of our concerns plays a critical role in the way we live, we propose the following as a call to action for safety and sustainability. Please add to the list.

#1 — Indian Point. This is the elephant in Westchester’s living room. Either through natural disaster, terrorist incident, or Entergy’s malfeasance, a meltdown or radiation incident at Indian Point in Buchanan could render areas around the New York City area uninhabitable. Forever, or at least a few thousand years. The chairman of the NRC said that the emergency safety zone should be widened to 50 miles — literally the entire New York metropolitan area. They say it “can’t happen here,” but then they said that in Fukushima. The nuclear plant must be decommissioned as quickly as possible, and the highly radioactive fuel rods, currently stored in warehouse pools, secured in a safer manner. Fail to address Entergy’s Indian Point and forget concerns #2 through #10.

#2 — Hydrofracking. This is an issue that has swept to the fore with news of botched drilling in Pennsylvania, Texas and other states. In search of natural gas companies are seeking to mine, millions of gallons of water are needed to free the gas trapped within the Marcellus Shale, a process called hydrofracking. The water used is found in streams and ponds and is mixed with chemicals and forced into the shale at tremendous pressure, which fractures the rock and frees the gas.The process could contaminate water put back into ponds, lakes, streams and the aquifer, including New York City’s reservoirs and our own drinking water.

#3 — Greenhouse gases. Bedford is now among the towns in the forefront of reducing the impact of greenhouse gases. The town and Bedford 2020 have developed the Energize Bedford program to increase energy efficiency in residential buildings. This and other measures must be adapted and maintained for future success in reducing our greenhouse emissions and limiting our carbon footprint.

#4 — Septic system management. In an area where we rely largely on wells, not sewerage, this is vital for protecting the integrity of our watersheds and the quality of our drinking water. New rules from the state and county require municipalities to be responsible for tracking septic inspections, as well as formulating local laws requiring septic pumping every three years by each property owner with a system, and penalties for noncompliance.

#5 — Open space preservation. Funds for open space preservation are hard to come by, and the process for saving land is by no means simple. As state funds become more limited, one of the ways to protect our habitat, its fauna and flora, is by the purchase of open space parcels. The Westchester Land Trust and Pound Ridge Land Conservancy are among the groups working to save properties to protect the environment. The Land Trust recently boasted completion of conservation easements on 286 acres in Bedford and in the Putnam County town of Patterson. They deserve our full support.

#6 — Viewshed protection. We sometimes chide Pound Ridge for the length of time it has spent in reviewing its cell tower application. But in one regard, they are quite correct: a cell tower is, by any measure, ugly and intrusive. Cell towers and other electronic communications equipment are always unsightly, just as bright signage, lighting and other visual disturbances can be. Boards are rightly taking a look at ways to protect our viewsheds, giving us the kind of visual ambience that adds to our quality of life and enhances our sense of community.

#7 — Saving our forests. Because deer are destroying the shrubs, their root systems that hold the soil are ineffective and silt runs into the reservoir, polluting the water. Whether via bowhunting, contraceptives, exclosures or other means, efforts to cull the herd and reforest our woodlands must continue.

#8 — Our own backyards: phosphorous removal. Towns in the New York City watershed district are required to act on state and DEP mandates as the city tries to protect its water supply. The latest mandate requires that about 256 kilograms of phosphorus must be removed from the watershed district within five years. The three major northern Westchester watershed communities creating phosphorous pollution are Yorktown, Bedford and Somers. Removing phosphorous — largely caused by home fertilizers — could change the way we manage our lawn care, farms and animals.

#9 — Noise. The recent Northeast Airspace Redesign rattled Pound Ridgers into action against airplane noise and congestion overhead. Bedford, meanwhile, is among the few American communities to have a leaf blower advisory board. Idling engines, construction and traffic noise are all concerns. We must be aware of all our senses in being sensitive to the world around us.

#10 — Recycle, reuse — and educate. Our resources are limited and the world’s population ever-growing. Stewardship of our planet is a lifetime goal. Let’s pass our appreciation of the planet to our kids. It will be their turn next.

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Editorial

NEWSSTAND LOCATIONS

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)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

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

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

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

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

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    


South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   


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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