Monday, March 31, 2008

The New York Times on Broadwater: "Let's Not"

Today is not a happy day in Broadwater-land. With two weeks to go before New York State's deadline for deciding the Broadwater issue, the New York Times has weighed in with an unequivocal NO!...


Here is our position on Broadwater, the quarter-mile-long floating energy barge in Long Island Sound that could supply New York and Connecticut with a billion cubic feet of natural gas a day — provided it wins regulatory approval, is built as planned and doesn’t get blown up by terrorists or sunk by market forces:

Let’s not. ...

Anti-Broadwater activists have expressed serious doubts about whether the federal review of environmental impact was thorough enough. They have also raised credible doubts that the market will even support this huge commitment to new infrastructure.

Long Island Sound could probably survive the addition of a permanent industrial barge the length of four football fields, and fishing boats and pleasure boaters could probably learn to cope with gas tankers, and everyone could probably live with the remote possibility of a big gas explosion on the Sound. But it’s not worth the accumulation of these insults to the Sound and its stressed ecosystem. Natural gas is cleaner than oil or coal but still a globe-warming fossil fuel.

One crucial caveat remains: By steadfastly opposing this project over the gas industry’s insistence that the region needs it, Broadwater’s critics are committing themselves to bearing the cost of the cleaner, greener way. This means a serious commitment to energy conservation and serious investments in wind and solar power, and in retooling existing power plants for efficiency and cleanliness.

It's impossible to say what affect editorials have on decision-makers. But depending on how much of a push Governor Paterson needs to say "let's not," the opinion of the Times might be just enough. Read it here.

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Little Neck Dolphins

A kayaker encountered dolphins off Little Neck and Manhasset yesterday and wrote to tell me about it:

I was kayaking this morning off of Kings Point and 2 juvenile dolphin swam up to our group. We followed them for about 1/2 hour to the entrance to Manhasset Bay. The water was clear and like mirror so it was easy to see them surfacing over and over. They stayed very close to us and they seemed to be healthy.

I have heard that dolphin used to live here, but never expected to see them.

He was commenting on this post, from December 2005, when white-sided dolphins were seen way out east. I don't know who it was who wrote yesterday but write again -- my email address is to the right -- and maybe with more details we can figure out what kind of dolphins they were.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Here's One of the Best Things That Has Happened This Spring

At dusk on Saturday evening and last evening, a male and female barred owl were calling to each other in the woods, where they nested last year. They haven't been around much since their young fledged last June and, although the books say they like to nest in the same place year after year, I figured they weren't coming back. But they're here.

As for Long Island Sound blogging, the battery in my laptop needs to be recharged and the power cord is frayed and doesn't work, so until a new cord arrives I'm spending much less time on it. For all the news headlines, read Chris Zurcher's blog, here.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

FERC Approves Broadwater


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rell Wants FERC to Postpone Broadwater Decision

Governor Jodi Rell has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take Broadwater off its agenda for Thursday, arguing that the New York State government is in flux and Governor David Paterson will need time to brush up on the issue.

That may be, but why should that concern FERC, which hasn't been bothered by any of New York State's serious misgivings about Broadwater before?

The Department of Environmental Conservation has said Broadwater's environmental impact statement is incomplete, that it doesn't contain adequate information to analyze all the environmental affects of the big LNG platform.

But that hasn't stopped FERC.

The state Department of State has said there's strong evidence that Broadwater conflicts with state policies for use of the coastal zone.

But that hasn't stopped FERC.

Maybe Jodi Rell, a Republican, has the ear of FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher. If so, great.

But FERC is not concerned with a true analysis of the environmental impacts, it's not concerned with the long-term well-being of Long Island Sound. FERC is not concerned with anything except approving Broadwater as quickly as possible.

So let them formalize the decision that everyone knows they're going to make anyway, and let's concentrate on stopping Broadwater in Albany.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

When FERC Approves Broadwater This Week, Call It What It Is -- A Sham Decision

It seems as if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will make its Broadwater decision at a meeting in Washington on Thursday (here and here for details). The decision of course will be an approval – the FERC staff has already said it doesn’t think the project poses any environmental risk, and the commission itself will rubber-stamp it.

The question is, what will it mean?

Broadwater will try to use it as a major component of its public relations push.

It will spin the FERC decision as a major victory, proof that the liquefied natural gas platform it wants to put in the middle of Long Island Sound is not just harmless but beneficial.

It will take out ads, issue a press statement, perhaps generate phony letters to the editor, in an effort to gull residents (of Long Island in particular, but elsewhere in New York too and in Connecticut) into believing that we really need a permanent energy factory in the Sound.

The press of course will go along with Broadwtaer, framing their stories as a major victory instead of as the inevitability that many of us have said it would be almost from the beginning.

And Broadwater will use the decision and whatever publicity it generates in its effort to convince New York’s new governor, David Paterson, that he should approve the project.

How should opponents view it? As it really is: a sham decision by a commission that has not given enough consideration to the environment, to safety and to local wishes.

In fact they should start sending that message now.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Where are the Shad?

I haven't seen shad or shad roe in the fish case of our supermarket yet, which is a bit odd -- in years past, it has come in earlier than the local run, in late January and February instead of March and April, which means the fish are being caught in the so-called intercept fishery in the ocean or in rivers much further south (come to think of it, I seem to recall hearing that the intercept fishery has been banned, or severely curtailed, for fear that it was preventing shad from reaching their spawning streams).

In any case, there are so few shad left in the Hudson that New York State is further restricting the number of days that the handful of commercial fishermen who are left can catch them. Sad.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Broadwater is Big News Today

Between the Governor's LNG Task Force Report, which was released yesterday, and David Paterson's mention of Broadwater during his first press conference, there's a dozen or so reports in the news about Broadwater today. You can find them all on Chris Zurcher's Environmental Headlines site, here. The letter the task force sent to Paterson is here (the letter, it turns out, is actually the final report).


Thursday, March 13, 2008

David Paterson's First Broadwater Comment

Here's David Paterson's first comments on Broadwater, in response to a question at a press conference today:

On the second question on Feb. 5 the governor gave a six-week decision on Broadwater. I don’t know what his decision would have been. I might actually ask for a little more time since it’s coming to that point. I really haven’t been able to look at it enough to render a point of view at this time.

He seems to know it's a momentous decision and he wants to go to school on it. That's good. It also gives both sides a chance to lobby him and convince him, and frankly that's good too.

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Rell Criticizes FERC Over Broadwater, Wants to Talk to New York's New Governor

No sense waiting, I guess. Jodi Rell says she'll soon be picking up the phone and calling David Paterson to tell him why Broadwater is such a bad idea. The final report from Connecticut's LNG task force is coming out today, by the way, and not surprisingly it will be critical of both the plan to put an LNG terminal in Long Island Sound and of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC, Rell said yesterday, has shown a ...

"... single-minded focus on approving the Broadwater platform no matter what the evidence shows."

“My panel has reached three major conclusions,” Rell said. “FERC never performed a serious analysis of the potential environmental consequences; FERC undertook an absurdly limited review of the alternatives to Broadwater; and the alternatives will likely be meeting the energy needs of both Connecticut and New York before the Broadwater project is ever completed and on line.”

You can read about it in the Courant, the Day and the New Haven Register. You might want to note that the Register story is written by the paper's "north bureau chief." That's because the era of newspaper downsizing has claimed the job of the Register's longtime Capitol bureau chief, who was laid off the other day, here. The Courant called the move "boneheaded."

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No One is Covering the Sound

Someone at the Long Island Sound Citizens Summit the other day told me that my old employer, the Journal News, no longer has anyone covering Long Island Sound. When the transportation reporter left a couple of months ago to take a job with the county Health Department, the paper simply moved the Sound reporter into her slot.

I'm pretty sure that means that for the first time since I started covering the Sound more or less regularly, in 1985, the Westchester papers have no Sound reporter. Sad.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Will Spitzer's Resignation Be Good or Bad for Broadwater?

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that after hearing the news on Monday about Governor Spitzer, one of the first things I thought of was: is this good or bad for Broadwater?

When David Patterson becomes governor, will he be likely to rely more on his staff for a recommendation than Spitzer (who has been lobbied personally by the head of Shell and the head of Citizens Campaign for the Environment) perhaps would have?

I certainly don't know but would welcome opinions. The deadline for the state to make its Broadwater decision is April 11. The Hartford Courant has a story with some thoughts from Donald Williams, president of the Connecticut State Senate, here.

There's a funny, parody site up now, by the way, called Fraudwater, apparently put together by someone who calls himself Long Island John. Check it out.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bridgeport and Stratford Should Sell Their Beach to the Fish and Wildlife Service

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch spoke briefly at Saturday’s Long Island Sound Citizens Summit and asked the 150 or so people for their support in his effort to have Bridgeport (and Stratford) sell their barrier beach to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (it's called Long Beach in Stratford and Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport; there’s info from the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide, here).

Finch’s reason was simple and compelling: Bridgeport, always in trouble financially, needs the $10 million it would get from the feds, and if it doesn’t sell the beach, the beach will never be open to the public because Bridgeport can’t afford to open it and maintain it.

Support for the sale is by no means unanimous in either Bridgeport or Stratford. Each mayor wants it, environmentalists and conservationists want it but plenty of people don’t want to sell an asset to the federal government, for fear of losing control and access, which is extremely difficult now in any case. (The Town of Stratford has a poll on its website about the issue. As of this morning 702 of 854 people clicked “yes,” in favor of the sale. Of course when you open the webpage, “yes” is filled in for you, so if you happen to click “submit” by mistake, you vote yes automatically. In any case, a self-selected poll like that one has little validity.)

One of the reasons the Fish and Wildlife Service is interested is that the beach has been abandoned for so long, it has become wild again, and piping plovers, a threatened species, are nesting there. Piping plovers nest across the mouth of the Housatonic, on Milford Point, which the Fish and Wildlife service also owns, and parts of that beach are closed and fenced off from April through late summer to give the birds a chance to raise their young.

Some Stratford and Bridgeport residents are arguing that if the sale goes through, the feds will protect the birds to the detriment of local residents. There’s an interesting letter here laying out the argument against selling – namely, that Bridgeport needs a beach that is more of a park than a wildlife sanctuary (the first letter, hinting that the fire last week on Stratford’s part of the beach was somehow related to the town’s wish to sell, is conspiratorial to an idiotic degree).

But protecting the piping plovers would be the responsibility of whoever owned the beach. On Sandy Point, in West Haven, where piping plovers nest too, the town keeps the beach open but posts signs warning visitors not to interfere with the birds.

Milan Bull, the head of the Connecticut Audubon Society (not to be confused with Audubon Connecticut), had a piece in the Connecticut Post the other day in which he made the point about the landowner’s responsibility…

…it is the landowners themselves, private or municipal, who are liable for the protection of threatened or endangered species on their properties. So no matter who holds title to Pleasure Beach/Long Beach West, nesting piping plovers and other threatened bird species will require protection. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can guarantee public access, maintenance and a range of meaningful public uses, then they may be the best long-term custodians of this coastal jewel.

I'm with Finch and the environmentalists, not surprisingly: sell the beach, protect the birds, and then work with the feds to increase public access and give people in Bridgeport and Stratford a place to swim and enjoy the Sound.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Expect Broadwater to Try to Influence Governor Spitzer with Results of Bogus Opinion Survey (although as of this afternoon, he may be preoccupied)

When New York State extended the deadline for making its Broadwater decision last month by an extra 60 days, the word was that Broadwater would use the extra time to try to increase its popularity and to then try to convince Governor Spitzer that the people of New York really want a big LNG terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound.

If that’s there strategy, one of their tactics sounds bogus and deceitful.

I got an email on Saturday from a woman who asked me not to use her name, who said she lives on Long Island. Here’s what she wrote:

Thursday night I received a phone call from a fellow who said he was from an “independent research company” asking me if I would like to take a survey - I agreed to do so. I would like to tell you about the 'survey' questions I was asked. I am paraphrasing … to the best of my recollection:

(Right out of the gate): Do I support “imported oil or clean burning natural gas”?

- Do I believe my elected officials are responsible for keeping my energy cost lower?

- Did I consider my energy bills high?

- Do I use more energy now than I did 4-5 years ago?

- Is a reliable supply of 'State supplied' natural gas important to me?

- If my elected officials told me I would save $300 per year on energy costs, would I tell them to support the method to do so?

Then I was asked if I was familiar with a proposal for an LNG facility to be located in the middle of LI Sound, many miles off shore from land. This was followed by:

- Broadwater is working with environmental groups on this project. Knowing this, are you more likely to support the project?

- Broadwater has pledged to give millions of dollars to organizations on Long Island. Knowing this, are you more likely to support the project?

- Of the following types of organizations Broadwater can donate to, which of the following would you most support to support this project: (... a list was offered, to be rated 1-10)?

- The Coast Guard has stated that the security risks to the terminal are minimal. Knowing this are you more likely to support the project?

- The federal government has issued its final environmental assessment stating Broadwater would have minimal environmental risks. Knowing this are you more likely to support the project?

- The terminal would be nine miles off the coast on Long Island, virtually invisible from the coast. Knowing this, are you more likely to support the project?

There were more, but you get the idea. Then I was asked:

- Am I a liberal?

- Democrat or Republican?

- Race, age, religion?

- Income range?

- Very important - Where do I get my information and news sources from?

Tom, if this was an "Independent Survey" then I'm the Queen of England. I felt manipulated and used. I asked again who they were, I was told they were 'Opinion Access Corporation' in Long Island City, 718-729-2622. They make calls and send back the tallies. The only way these guys are “independent” is that they are hired by Broadwater or their PR firms to ask their questions. The client is then free to interpret and use the results anyway they want.

I know the Shell-Broadwater staff is trying to portray opponents to this terminal as a so-called “vocal minority.” Perhaps with such biased questions, they will come up with an "independent survey” saying 90% of the respondents support this project. This would be so twisted it's beyond a joke!

What a load of hogwash. This is upsetting and wrong, and I'm angry. I hope this can somehow backfire on them. In fact, I felt so manipulated I called my local officials. I also called Spitzer's office, but had to leave a message. No one has called me back yet.

So keep your eyes open for ads, press releases and other pronouncements about support for Broadwater. We should assume they’re based on the survey my correspondent participated in, and we should assume the results are a sham.

2:58 p.m. The governor's got other issues to deal with.


Saturday's Long Island Sound Citizen's Summit

Save the Sound and the Long Island Sound Study held the annual Long Island Sound Citizens Summit on Saturday, at the Holiday Inn in Bridgeport. The theme was “The Long Island Sound Fishery: Flourishing or Floundering?” On the evaluation form included with the handouts, I rated it a 3 out of 5, which I’d characterize as “pretty good” but which the form characterized as “fair.” So be it. I've organized five conferences for the non-profit I work for and it's not the easiest thing in the world to do.

I said “pretty good,” rather than “good” or “great” because some of the speakers and panelists seemed to be under the impression that they could stand in front of a room of 150-plus people and wing it with their poorly-conceived Power Point slides. I have a great example from the conference of how Power Point makes for lame presentations, which I’ll write about later probably. But suffice it to say that if you’re going to talk to 150 people about a topic you know a lot about, and which they know something about and are interested in, you need to actually prepare cogent remarks – you should think about what points you want to make and then you should make them, with good examples. Your slides should illustrate your point; they can’t be your point.

Anyway. David Funkhouser from the Hartford Courant was the only reporter I saw there, and you can read his story, which is a fine summary, here.

I want to add just a few things that people said that stuck out in my mind.

Eric Smith, the director of the Connecticut DEP’s marine fisheries bureau, talked about a number of troubling signs in the Sound. The water seems to be clearer than normal, which probably indicates there are fewer phytoplankton, the estuary’s basic food source, he said. Lobster are dying again. And some species are way, way down in numbers. Winter flounder, for example, spawn and produce young but the young don’t make it past two years of age.

“The sound seems to be sick,” he said. “The question is why.”

But if the Sound is sick, it doesn’t seem to be showing up in the data that Penny Howell, a marine fisheries biologist who works for Smith, has been collecting.

She and her colleagues now have about 25 years worth of data on the abundance of 40 species (38 fish plus lobster and squid) in Long Island Sound and, she said, there is no long term trend – no great rise in overall abundance but no great fall either. Some species are down -- lobster and winter flounder – but they’ve been replaced in abundance by other species. One difference is that the species that tend to be here in the fall, including scup and butterfish, are now dominant. Since the water is warmer in fall than in spring, this indicates that warm water species are becoming more prevalent.

Smith said the Long Island Sound Study needs to put this on its research agenda.

One last thing: Dave Relyea, one of the owners of the Frank M. Flower & Sons oyster company, in Oyster Bay, brought with him oysters, ice and a shucker, and served them with lunch -- Pine Island oysters, they're called, and I've had them at a pretty good shellfish place in Mount Kisco. On Saturday they were amazingly good.
We were asked not to go crazy, to make sure there was some for everybody, so I had two with lunch and then, when lunch was over, went out to the serving area to see if any were left, and had two more. My estimate is that Relyea must have brought over about 600 oysters, and I was thoroughly impressed by the gesture.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

On the Beach the Stratford Wants to Sell, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Two young men were out walking yesterday afternoon on the beach that Stratford wants to sell to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The beach has an old colony of cottages, abandoned now and vandalized but still standing and owned by Stratford. The two men noticed that some of the cottages were on fire, so they called 911. Eventually three of the cottages were destroyed. To thank the two young men, police charged them with trespassing.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Problems in the Port of Bridgeport

I think this story, about the sale of a section of the port of Bridgeport in the Connecticut Post, is important but it's hard to tell because it has so many lose threads, some of them so small they're really filaments, that I'm not sure what's going on or what the big pucture really is. Here are some facts I was able to pick out of the story:
  • Longshoremen are selling a terminal that they bought in the 1990s to keep a company from going out of business.
  • A company that operates a terminal in Bridgeport is moving to Philadelphia because Pennsylvania has offered tax breaks that Connecticut has not offered
  • Another reason the company is moving is because the harbor in Bridgeport needs to be dredged
  • there's also no rail access to the harbor; a rail line, makes it easier to move goods after they arrive
  • the company seems to be a big banana importer (Bridgeport is known as a center of banana imports).
  • steel imports have also dropped a lot
  • the terminal area might be turned into condos or a mixed use development
Put is all together and what do you get? I'm not sure. But it seems like something bad is happening to one of Long Island Sound's biggest ports.


Protecting Stratford's Beach for the Rats and the Drunken Boat Parties

Some folks in Stratford don’t want the town to sell a strip of beach on Long Island Sound to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (background here) because they’re afraid it will lead to less public access. But if one visitor's observations are accurate, less access might be a good thing:

"I walk that peninsula four or five times a week and it's being destroyed by an infestation of rats, people driving ATVS and drunken boat parties. It's out of control and the best solution would be to sell the property to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Shell Says It Is Starting to Sell Natural Gas from Broadwater

Shell announced today that while it is still trying to sell New York State officials on what a great idea it is to put a liquefied natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound, it would also try to sell customers on the idea of actually buying the natural gas from that terminal, Broadwater. The Courant had it, here.

Shell used the occasion to express confidence that it would get its state approval:

"Based on Broadwater's continued progress, now is the right time to have further discussions with our potential customers regarding natural gas supply contracts from Broadwater," said Mark Hanafin, CEO of Shell Energy North America, in a statement. "Broadwater may well change the dynamics of the gas supply in New York."

And the credulous Courant (there's no name on the story) accepts the spin and makes its own assertion:

The announcement is a sign of further confidence by Shell in the terminal project...

But maybe it's not that at all. Maybe Shell is bluffing. Or more likely, maybe that's just the way business is done -- you start trying to sell your product before you get final approval -- and Shell used it as an opportunity to make it seem like Broadwater is a done deal. It would have been nice if the Courant had been skeptical enough to at least question Shell's assertion.

Thursday, 7:20 a.m. -- This story, in the New Haven Register, at least raises the possibility that Shell's announcement is a publicity ploy aimed at making it seem like Broadwater is a done deal.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Helping Westchester Meets Its Long Island Sound Cleanup Goal

If you’ve been following the Long Island Sound cleanup, on this blog and elsewhere, you know that Westchester County has a problem. Years ago, when solutions to hypoxia were first being agreed on and the goal of reducing nitrogen from sewage plants was set at 58.5 percent, New York State told Westchester that nitrogen reduction probably would cost between $30 million and $50 million (I’m working from memory here, mine and someone else’s). Then the county did the actual engineering studies and learned that the cost was a bit higher – more like $355 million to $573 million. Since those costs have to be borne by taxpayers, that’s a problem. (There's background from my blog here.)

The county has known this for some time – at least two years, I think – and has been trying to convince New York State to authorize a nitrogen credit trading program similar to Connecticut’s, which is working well. But New York isn’t interested in establishing such a program for Westchester. For a nitrogen credit trading program to work, one sewer district has to be able to remove nitrogen to the extent that it exceeds the 58.5 percent goal. Let’s say its 58.5 percent goal is to remove 500 pounds of nitrogen a day. But in reality it removes 700 pounds. It has exceeded its goal and gets credit for the additional 200 pounds. Another district that is having a difficult time meeting the goal can then buy those credits, or some part of them.

The official reason New York State isn’t interested in nitrogen trading is that there are no sewage districts in New York with nitrogen credits to sell, according to the state. I’m told that an unofficial reason is that the state thinks that eventually the 58.5 percent nitrogen reduction goal will be increased and it wants to keep whatever gains and particular district makes so it can receive credit for it then.

But I’ve been told directly by two very knowledgeable people, and indirectly by a third who is equally knowledgeable, that there actually are sewage districts that could sell credits to Westchester.

Great Neck, for example, could undertake a nitrogen removal program that could allow Westchester to buy credits for perhaps 200 pounds of nitrogen a day, maybe more. That might allow the county to avoid having to do nitrogen removal on one of its two smaller plants (Blind Brook, which is in Rye, or Port Chester). But the state won’t consider it.

The situation is this. There are two sewage treatment plants in Great Neck, both of which have to remove 58.5 percent of the nitrogen they discharge into the Sound by 2014, just like all the other sewage plants on the Sound (except for New York City, which is big and politically powerful and so was granted a three-year extension).

The operators of the plants in Great Neck can meet their nitrogen reduction goal by either upgrading or undertaking a project to send their sewage to a Nassau County plant on the Atlantic Shore of Long Island, where hypoxia caused by nitrogen is not a problem.

If the plants in Great Neck are upgraded, they will meet their 58.5 percent goal. But if Great Neck chooses the diversion option, it will have eliminated 100 percent of its nitrogen discharge into the Sound, not just 58.5 percent. If it did that, Great Neck should get a reward. The reward could be that Great Neck could then sell the credits for all or most of the nitrogen above 58.5 percent to Westchester County.

I’m told that that could equal about 200 pounds a day. On the one hand, that’s a drop in the bucket. Westchester is required to remove 2,784 pounds of nitrogen a day, and 200 pounds is just 7 percent.

But the cost of nitrogen removal is estimated to be $355 million to $573 million. Assuming the costs are relatively proportional, a 7 percent savings would equal $25 million to $40 million (minus the cost of the nitrogen credits it will have to buy).

Unfortunately for Westchester, the two Long Island plants – one in the town of Great Neck, the other in the village – are planning to merge. One will be shut down and the other expanded and upgraded to handle the wastewater from both. Diversion was studied but rejected. Apparently some engineers in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation favor closing the plants and diverting the wastewater, but DEC lawyers don’t.

Diversion can be very difficult politically, because people who live near the wastewater plant that the sewage is being diverted to feel as if the extra sewage will someone be a personal burden on them.

Westchester County and New York State experienced a political uproar not logn ago over a plan to take sewage from a treatment plant in Yorktown that empties into the New York City drinking water supply and divert it to a treatment plant in Peekskill that empties into the Hudson River. That plan seemed to be a no-brainer. Treated sewage has to go somewhere. Is it better to put it in the drinking water of the country’s largest city or in the Hudson? After years of listening to people and politicians in Peekskill and elsewhere scream that the diversion plan equaled environmental racism, the county and the state backed off.

Now the county wants to try it again, in a place that is safe politically (nobody on Long Island votes in Westchester), but the state flatly says no.

For what it’s worth, I think they ought to try again, perhaps with some new people negotiating who have cooler heads and haven’t established a personal stake in being right. If there’s a solution that can benefit Great Neck and Westchester, and which will be good for Long Island Sound, it’s worth a shot.

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