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Letters: New York takes lead on climate change

The Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted

The Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo., on July 27, 2018. Credit: AP / J. David Ake

On the same day that the Trump administration eased restrictions on coal-fired power plants, reversing measures needed to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions [“Trump EPA gives coal a reprieve,” News, June 20], New York State celebrated the passage of climate-bolstering legislation [“Climate, farm bills set to pass,” News, June 20].

Negotiated with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo by State Sen. Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach and Assemb. Steve Englebright of Setauket, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act is a natural follow-through to the governor’s plan to close New York’s coal-burning plants through emissions regulations.

The new legislation mandates an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2050, aggressive wind, solar and battery-storage goals.

Some poor members of our communities are on the front lines of fossil-fuel pollution, meaning they suffer the worst effects of climate change from flooding and storms. They live in low-lying areas in Freeport, Long Beach and Rockaway. Climate justice means extra help for those communities. In the current federal political climate, it’s up to states like ours to act on the climate crisis.

Peggy Lyons,

Floral Park

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Clean Energy for All Campaign of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization.

President Donald Trump’s re-election rally in Orlando, Florida, on June 18 was mostly recycled rhetoric from past gatherings [“Trump launches 2020 bid,” News, June 19], but one tack was slightly new.

He said the United States has “among the cleanest and sharpest, crystal-clean” air and water “anywhere on Earth.”

He continued, “We are creating a future of American energy independence, and yet our air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been by far.”

Yet, not surprising was the announcement the next day by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, that the EPA will ease regulation of coal-fired plant emissions [“Trump EPA gives coal a reprieve,” News, June 20]. On Wednesday, the EPA replaced the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan by finalizing its Affordable Clean Energy rule, which the agency estimates could cause 470 to 1,400 deaths a year from carbon and pollution emissions.

The administration is seeking to weaken auto emissions and fuel standards. And federal reports say there were 15 percent more days with unhealthy air in America in 2017 and 2018 than on average from 2013 through 2016, according to Time magazine.

Trump has attacked the established science of global warming and its threat to health. His new slogan should be, “Make Air Breathable Again.”

Hank Cierski,

Port Jefferson Station

Sometimes the right course of action requires sacrifices. Those who deny the evidence that climate change and environmental degradation are serious threats are ignoring facts; yet those who accept the evidence but assume these threats can be mitigated without sacrifices are pipe-dreamers.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act was passed out of a conviction, not that the transition to a renewable-energy economy will be painless, but that the sacrifices necessary to create the transition can and must be spread equitably among constituencies across the state (businesses, consumers, taxpayers). Moreover, there will be benefits — both short-term, in the form of green jobs, assistance for front-line and disadvantaged communities, and improved health; and long-term, in the form of the survival of our planet’s ecosystems. The benefits will outweigh the sacrifices, and will be enjoyed by all of us and our descendants.

Alex Dillon,


Editor’s note: The writer is a volunteer with New York Renews, a coalition of advocacy organizations.

As a Long Island student and Boy Scout, I have become increasingly concerned with the amount of pollution on Long Island.

Trash in the oceans kills animals and destroys the ecosystem. Too much nitrogen in the waters prevents fish from breathing. In Smithtown, we stopped recycling glass.

All Long Islanders need to do their part in keeping Long Island clean.

For example, Boy Scouts worked with Suffolk County Legis. Leslie Kennedy’s Clean the Stream event. Every year, several scout troops pick up debris and clear the Nissequogue River so that the water flows clean.

We should start recycling glass again. We should use less fertilizer on our lawns so we do not choke the fish. We should be the world’s leaders in having a clean environment.

Joshua McFadyen,