Thursday, April 19, 2007

On the Broadwater Issue, the Long Island Association is an Arrogant Meddler

The annoyance at the Long Island Association's announcement last week that it was giving its conditional support to Broadwater's LNG proposal for Long Island Sound wasn't limited to just environmentalists. One of the association's board members, Richard Kessel, chief executive of the Long Island Power Authority, thought the association's announcement was just slightly premature too, particularly since one of its conditions was that Broadwater provide gas at a discount to the Long Island Power Authority. Here's what Newsday reported today:

Kessel said he was especially rankled by plans for the association to negotiate with Broadwater on the conditions that the LIA board has set for the board's full support.

The first meeting was Tuesday.

Among the LIA's conditions is a long-term contract between Broadwater and LIPA for natural gas at "significantly discounted" prices.

"The LIA is certainly free to say what it wants," Kessel said, "but it should not put itself into a position of negotiating benefits for LIPA; that's LIPA's job."

Someone else made an interesting point to me yesterday about the chutzpah of the Long Island Association. The group's president, Matthew T. Crosson, said last week that that association wants to meet with the Broadwater people:

Crosson said in the association's statement that the group would meet with Broadwater executives to discuss specifics of its conditions. "If we are unable to negotiate those conditions to our satisfaction, the LIA board of directors will reconsider its support of the project," he said.

That's nice that he wants to be involved but on the other hand what makes him think anyone wants his pro-business group negotiating with Broadwater, or that it has any right to negotiate with Broadwater?

As it was expressed to me yesterday, who are they to act as brokers to sell off Long Island Sound?

Long Islanders might be impressed with the Long Island Association, but I'm not. Whatever they might have done or not done in the past, the association ought to pipe down on the Broadwater issue until it knows what it's talking about and has something useful to say. Until then I can only think of it as a arrogant meddler.

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Anonymous Bryan said...

I don't disagree with your characterization of LIA, but you shouldn't let LIPA go without comment. Perhaps if LIPA had done its job, LIA wouldn't feel the need to speak so wrongly or irrelevantly, depending on how one sees it.

LIPA commissioned a study of the impact of Broadwater on natural gas issues (not necessarily environmental issues) by Levitan Associates. That study was supposed to have been completed in April 2006. When I asked LIPA in the summer of 2006 about the status of the study, I was told it would be released in September 2006. We're now a year past it's original due-date and nothing from LIPA.

Not that anyone should be surprised. LIPA, at least pre-Kevin Law, and Richard Kessel are political "institutions" above all else. I expect Kessel's finger is in the wind on this one.

Just like the wind turbines. It took Newsday's efforts to get the real numbers on the offshore wind turbine. And now what does Kessel say? It was (former LIPA Sr. VP) Ed Grilli's project (meaning, "I don't have the guts to explain a situation I am at least in part responsible for).

Thank God Kessel's not entirely in charge anymore. Just read the minutes to the January LIPA board meeting and you'll see that things appear to be changing for the better.

So, get worked up about LIA but save some energy for LIPA.

9:44 AM  

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