Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Environmentalists and Broadwater: Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some complaints I’d heard that Broadwater might be unduly trying to influence the region by contributing money to a grant program and, more specifically, by having a consultant become a member of the Long Island Sound Study’s Citizens Advisory Committee.

Mark Tedesco, who runs the EPA’s Long Island Sound program, wrote a response to the second part of that complaint, citing the by-laws of the CAC, which were written to include as many groups and constituencies as possible. He posted his thoughts in the comments of my original post, but I’ll also excerpt them. Mark wrote:

There are many difficult, complex issues facing Long Island Sound. As should be clear from the by-laws, which were developed and approved by the CAC itself, the Long Island Sound Study believes that those issues are best addressed when we involve all perspectives in an atmosphere of open, honest dialogue and mutual respect. That has been a tenet of the CAC, to its credit, and one that we will continue to honor.

In other words, despite proposing a liquefied natural gas terminal for the middle of the Sound, a proposal that is generally reviled among environmentalists, Broadwater deserves a seat on the CAC as much as Citizens Campaign for the Environment or Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

Fair is fair, and the worst thing that could happen from Broadwater’s involvement is that they convince people the LNG terminal is a good idea. The best thing would be that Broadwater opponents listen and use Broadwater’s arguments to hone their opposition. (Both sides can also consider their proximity as a chance to follow the dictum that says, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”)

All this is old news, of course. Broadwater’s consultant has been on the CAC for well over a year. The complaint that led to my post referred to worries about the pervasiveness of Broadwater’s influence. But it’s worth remembering that in any fair forum, you’ll be influenced by the worthwhile ideas, and reject the others.


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