APRIL 19, 2013

Earth Day 9-1-1

Every year at Earth Day time we pay special heed to the issues facing our region in terms of sustainability, conservation, health and safety.

This year, with legislative deadlines and potential economic consequences, we have chosen hydraulic fracture drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale of New York state and the potential relicensing of Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear energy center as timely issues with concrete deadlines that could determine our energy future.

In February, DEC director Joe Martens said that the ongoing state health review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing — hydrofracking — was “still ongoing.” The DEC will not issue a final statement until the health review is complete.

Since horizontal drilling for natural gas is a field in which new information is coming to light by the day, and the examples of other states provide sobering food for thought, both on the environment and on the health of human beings, we would do well to consider what price our need is for natural gas pumped from our own backyards.

For those who see this as an “upstate problem,” think again. New York’s amazing reservoir system, of which our towns are the stewards, is reliant on clean and safe groundwater — groundwater that is put at risk by high-volume horizontal drilling, not to mention the possible seismic implications of digging deep under the earth. The glut of natural gas on the market has made profitability a question for the analysts, and once the damage is done there is no going back.

The Croton Clean Water Coalition points out that “it is quite likely that many drilling companies will go bankrupt,” and quotes officials who echo concerns “raised during previous bubbles, in housing and in technology stocks, for example, that ended in a bust.” In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey recently revised estimates of natural gas capability to 80 percent less than previously believed, raising questions about the value of such an intrusive drilling method.

If the review finds the state’s environmental impact study “has adequately addressed safety concerns,” the DEC will begin issuing permits. If, on the other hand, the state’s department of health review finds that there is a public health concern not properly assessed in the study or concerns are not properly mitigated, “we would not proceed ... in either event, the science, not emotion, will determine the outcome.”

Similarly, you have to look on the other side of the globe, at Japan, to see nuclear power’s ongoing risk to land, water and humanity. The continuing leaks at the disastrous Fukushima reactor show that even after a catastrophic event, the nuclear legacy continues to poison land and sea.

Licensing for Indian Point 2 in Buchanan, about 20 miles west of Bedford, comes up this year, and licensing for the third plant, Indian Point 3, in 2015. (Indian Point 1 has been long closed.) As nuclear regulators resume their review, the arguments for closure remain compelling: leaking fuel pools flowing into the ground and Hudson River; earthquake potential (Columbia University says a 7.0 quake is quite possible); and an evacuation plan that, covering only 10 miles from the plant and relying on bus drivers to chauffeur evacuees to Fox Lane High School and other local facilities for showers and shelter, has no bearing on the realities of our metropolitan area. Is supplying a little more than 10 percent of the region’s power really worth the risk?

Tragedy at the Marathon

We doubt there are many positives that can come from Monday’s tragic incident in Boston. For runners, the devastation and terror strikes at the heart of our fears — an intersection of our public and private lives. Runners whose daily motions and practice routine is one seeped in loneliness, hence the title “Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner,” a classic work of British fiction from the 1960s. Yet marathons and public-entry runs of all distances, for all ages, provide an opportunity for both camaraderie and competition. They offer a window for the public into the runner’s world and an introduction to competitive sport for first-time competitors. To imbue such events with fear and an incongruous message of terror is yet another reminder of the oft-times senseless juxtaposition of our political and social dialectic: so potent yet so pointless.

Monday’s marathon bombings have a particular resonance here, not only because of our proximity to Boston along the northeast corridor and the participation of some of our region’s residents, but because runs are part of our own athletic and civic lifestyle. Only last week, members of the Bedford Hills Neighborhood Association sponsored a 5K run, a now-annual event that drew hundreds to the hamlet to celebrate community spirit and the renascence of our hamlet. At Thanksgiving, the Chowder & Marching Club’s Turkey Trot brings runners and their families and friends together in Bedford Village, and the September Katonah Chamber of Commerce 5K run and trail race is always well attended.

This weekend in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, runners will gather under the banner of the Leatherman’s Loop, one of the most challenging races anywhere on the globe, as runners navigate the natural obstacles and battle the weather — in past years from dry to torrential — to splash their way to the finish line. It is an event that brings families and friends in support of runners —1,600 of them — as they confront nature’s challenges.

It is sad to think that an event such as the marathon could be marred by a senseless attack. Runners in the London Marathon this week will be remembering Boston, with black ribbons for runners and a social media campaign urging runners to cross the finish line with their hand over their hearts in a show of solidarity with those in Boston.

This Sunday, no doubt, these thoughts will be passing through the runners’ minds as they share thoughts for those who were killed or wounded on Monday. Our hearts and prayers go to the victims and their families.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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