The anti-Equinor mailer in Long Beach from Republicans State Sen. Patricia...

The anti-Equinor mailer in Long Beach from Republicans State Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick and Assemb. Ari Brown.

Daily Point

Anti-Equinor mailer aims to put wind in GOP's sails 

In the latest salvo in the Long Beach wind wars, State Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick and Assemb. Ari Brown have sent out an eye-opening new mailer designed to deepen opposition to a wind farm off the coast of Long Beach.

“Don’t let Albany and state legislators from New York City diminish our beaches to power communities off Long Island!” the mailer said. “Albany plans to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize foreign energy giants right here on our south shore.”

The mailer attacks the project by Equinor, a Norwegian firm, in seven key ways including that it’s harmful to marine life, that it’ll reduce property values and have a “high cost of environmental damage,” and that it’ll have an “aesthetic impact on our beautiful beaches.”

Two additional reasons — “intrusive electromagnetic cables” and “years of construction and congestion” were attributed to a Newsday article from July that didn’t at all use either phrase and didn’t indicate whether anything about the project would be “bad.”

Among the flyer’s other sources: the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a well-known organization that has spread misinformation about climate science and supports oil, gas and coal, while opposing renewable energy efforts.

Brown, a Republican, told The Point that while he wrote the content of the mailer, the footnotes and attributions were added afterward, he said, by officials in the Assembly’s Democratic majority. But a spokesman for the GOP minority said that while the majority suggested general changes, the specific attributions were added by officials in the Assembly minority’s office.

“I stand by all the words because I wrote them,” Brown said. “But as for the attributions, I can’t say what was in the mind of someone else.”

A spokesman for the Assembly Republican minority said officials from both parties worked “in good faith” in agreeing to the content and attributions of the mailer.

Brown said he has a “treasure trove” of science to support the claims made in the mailer. Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick, also a Republican, noted that the mailer was “just trying to bring awareness to the issue.”

But Equinor spokeswoman Lauren Shane said the mailer wasn’t factual and contained misinformation that was “detrimental” to the effort to inform the public.

“It is concerning when elected officials are not sharing accurate information,” Shane said. “We’re trying to be as open and collaborative as we can … and we want to work with all elected officials who are interested in working in good faith.”

The flyer asks constituents to sign a petition opposing “Equinor’s plan to undermine your voice and construct offshore wind turbines near Long Beach.” Brown said he has already received up to 900 responses to the mailer.

The mailer comes just three months before members of the Long Beach City Council are up for reelection, and one open Nassau County legislative seat is up for grabs, with Republicans making a big push to gain turf in a traditionally Democratic area. But Brown said the upcoming elections had nothing to do with the mailer’s timing, noting that he had hoped it would be sent closer to the end of the legislative session in June.

Said Brown: “I don’t get involved in local government elections.”

— Randi F. Marshall

Pencil Point

A late recall

Credit: Granlund

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Final Point

Advocacy groups: Hear out real people, not special interests on LIPA

When a state commission released a report this spring saying a fully public Long Island Power Authority would reduce rates and provide more accountability, there wasn’t any significant rally around the finding and support for such a fundamental change. The necessary changes to state law never happened before the end of the legislative session.

Now, as a second round of hearings on what to do with LIPA gets underway next week, the Long Island Progressive Coalition is seeking to show Albany there is muscle behind the idea. More than 95 environmental and progressive political and social justice organizations have signed a letter of support circulated by the coalition including the Sierra Club’s Atlantic Chapter, United Auto Workers Region 9, the Middle Island Civic Association, the Montaukett Indian Nation, Pax Christi Long Island and Rockaway Women for Progress.

The groups are calling for legislation in next year’s state budget that would overhaul the current public-private model now in place where PSEG is the contractor working for a state-appointed board.

“This is an attempt to show the governor and legislative leaders that real people want this, that the larger community of stakeholders wants to play a role in creating a new vision for our electric system,” LIPC executive director Lisa Tyson told The Point. Tyson said their proposal calls for the creation of a 25-member board of stakeholders that would establish the priorities for such a fully public utility.

Tyson said the coalition would present its plan at the next round of hearings scheduled by the commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority. The first one is Sept. 12 at the Suffolk County Legislature followed by a hearing at the Nassau legislative building on Sept. 14, with the final one to take place Sept. 27 at Farmingdale State College.

— Rita Ciolli

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