Don’t sacrifice forest for solar panels
Nobody thinks we should pit solar energy against land and water protection [“Woodlands deal is up to Cuomo,” Editorial, Dec. 27]. So why are some groups doing just that? Instead of working to get both, they’re demanding solar at the expense of land and water.
It started with a proposal to build a solar panel array on pristine forest land in Long Island’s pine barrens. The obvious question: Why put them there and not on previously cleared land?
With the support of an overwhelming majority of environmental and civic organizations, legislation to preserve the forest passed in both houses of the State Legislature. Meanwhile, we spent weeks working with the planning department and environmental protection and law departments of Brookhaven Town to find suitable, previously cleared land for the solar array. We got very close to an agreement.
Alas, some folks spent their time differently. The Citizens Campaign for the Environment and the New York League of Conservation Voters, along with lobbyists for the solar industry, lobbied Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to veto the legislation, and he did.
To his credit, the governor has vowed to keep working for a solution, and that’s promising. But it’s only a solution if it provides the solar energy we need without destroying the environment.
Richard Amper, Riverhead
Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, an environmental education and advocacy organization.
Wasteful use of taxpayer money
Thank you to Joye Brown for her terrific column, “Mystery in clerk’s office” [News, Jan. 4]. She perfectly highlighted the games, ego and entitlement of some of our politicians. It reminded me of the days of kings and serfs, with the burden left on taxpayers’ backs as we struggle to provide for our families.
It’s a shame that Hempstead’s new town clerk, Sylvia Cabana, and new supervisor, Laura Gillen, and her staff had to experience what is all too common in the boys club of politics and on the taxpayer’s dime.
What’s so frustrating is the fact that town officials seemed ignorant as to where all the furniture, phones and car were. They behave like children hiding their toys.
Trump thumbs-down will sell more books
Michael Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” should not lose a moment’s sleep over President Donald Trump’s heavy-handed efforts to censor his book [News, “Big book battle,” Jan. 5].
Instead, Wolff should recall the words of Mark Twain upon learning of decision of the Concord public library in Massachusetts to ban his classic “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in 1885. In a letter to his publisher, Twain wrote, “They have expelled Huck from their library as ‘trash and suitable only for the slums.’ That will sell 25,000 copies for us sure.”
Twain was right. The Concord library’s actions helped turn “Huckleberry Finn” into a cause célèbre. Within two months, sales surpassed 50,000, the novel’s critics notwithstanding.
Wolff could not ask for a better publicist than the president of the United States.
Stop president from starting a nuclear war
I am terrified of our situation with North Korea. I am old enough to remember sitting under my desk in elementary school when air-raid drills were conducted.
I have been a teacher for more than 30 years. So my students are now going to experience the same thing? Now, no one can say America will never strike first with a nuclear weapon.
I do not have one bit of faith that our president has the ability to restrain himself from not continually baiting and being baited by another madman [“An opening on Olympics,” News, Jan. 3].
The Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu of California and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, would legally prohibit the president from unilaterally deciding to conduct a nuclear first strike. I call on our representatives in Congress to pass it now. The lives of all Americans may very well depend on it.