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OpinionLetters

Penn Station's homeless, utility issues, battery waste and offshore wind

LIRR customers in a corridor at Penn Station

LIRR customers in a corridor at Penn Station in 2018.  Credit: Charles Eckert

Remove homeless from Penn Station

I appreciate Newsday’s editorial drawing attention to the "Problems at Penn" [July 18]. However, it is a lukewarm, tiptoeing commentary that does not represent the sad and dramatic reality that is Penn Station today.

People seem to have forgotten that it is a commuter rail station. It is not a drug den, homeless shelter or a halfway house. Penn Station is a place where some advocates of the homeless huddle safely in groups hiding out in a drug store while the homeless people are begging, defecating, screaming, doing drugs and harassing pedestrians waiting for trains.

Until we actually change the perverse narrative that since Penn Station is a public place we can’t move people out because we are infringing on their rights if they do not wish to leave, the situation will never improve.

These people are not commuters. Many are sick people who suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse and do not understand that they need help.

Therefore, the only humane thing for us to do as reasonable, civilized people would be to remove them and provide social services and housing for them and tell them they cannot live in Penn Station, period.

— Susan LoGiudice, Bayport

LIPA board working to fix past failures

I believe the Long Island Power Authority was transparent in its investigation of PSEG Long Island’s failures following Tropical Storm Isaias ["No lights: Who get the blame?," Editorial, July 15]. LIPA’s investigations revealed that virtually all delays and poor communication resulted from ineffective PSEG Long Island management.

LIPA worked to resolve these issues by publishing a 30- and 90-day report that listed 85 recommendations to address management, emergency management and information technology shortfalls. The board also adopted another 79 recommendations concerning non-storm areas of management and demanded the public receive quarterly updates.

With these shortcomings in mind, the board reviewed the best alternatives for customers. The board held public hearings and issued an analysis of the options based on fact. We discussed areas of concern in the current PSEG Long Island contract and the non-negotiable changes needed to ensure more accountability.

Last month, LIPA’s management delivered the strongest contract in our 22-year history. In my opinion, this agreement met all eight of the board’s criteria for a reformed contract with PSEG LI, including placing significantly more of their compensation at risk and restructuring management to place greater control on Long Island.

The option for LIPA to become fully municipal, subject to policy makers’ consent, is still a possibility. But for now, I feel we have a stronger contract to drive long-term results for customers.

— Laureen Harris, Plandome

The writer is a LIPA board member.

Battery waste is gone if you can’t see it

I found Michael Dobie’s column "When solutions are problems" eye-opening [Opinion, July 18]. With no clear path to avoiding an avalanche of life-altering, storage-battery-materials mining waste, we may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire of toxic choices. I suppose we can always pretend it’s cleaner, to assuage the current zeitgeist. Waste that is out of sight, tends to become out of mind.

— David Rogers, Northport

Offshore wind costs are shared statewide

Kyle Strober’s essay "Unfair cost to LI for offshore wind" [Opinion, July 14] unfortunately focuses solely on the cost of necessary transmission upgrades on Long Island, which the state Public Service Commission is considering be borne by 75% of Long Island ratepayers and 25% by statewide ratepayers.

He completely ignores the fact that all the costs of offshore wind projects, many of which will directly benefit Long Island, will be paid for by ratepayers across the state. Further, the PSC is reevaluating the 75/25 split and may adjust its proposed cost-sharing arrangement. The transmission upgrades are necessary, will strengthen the downstate grid, will make it more resilient and help avoid the type of power outages that recently wreaked havoc in Texas.

It’s true that Long Island and downstate ratepayers are currently subsidizing nuclear power plants in upstate New York, but the converse is also true when it comes to offshore wind, which all New York ratepayers will share in the cost of building.

Long Island will enjoy enormous benefits when it comes to offshore wind, which will inject billions of dollars into the economy, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and help revitalize ports and other infrastructure.

— Joe Martens, Albany

The writer is director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance.

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