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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/24/2017

Viewpoint author too dismissive of alternative energy

Viewpoint author too dismissive of alternative energy

*Viewpoint author too dismissive of alternative energy *Cut from the top down at Niskayuna schools *

Viewpoint author too dismissive of alternative energy

Re June 9 Viewpoint, “Alternate energy won’t be available by 2030”: Russ Wege feels that it is too costly, unnecessary and technically challenging for New York to have an energy supply based on solar, wind and geothermal by the year 2030.

The report calling for this transition to renewable energy was authored by environmental scientists and engineers (Jacobson, et al.) at two of the world’s leading research institutions — Stanford and Cornell.

The economic and environmental arguments in the Jacobson paper are strongly supported by two recent exhaustive international research efforts (easily accessed by Internet searches for “Stern Report executive summary” and “International Energy Commission June 10”).

As for the technical feasibility of the Jacobson plan, the pedigree of the authors merits more than a blithe dismissal from Mr. Wege. The economic and environmental stakes are monumental.

We need to pressure Gov. Cuomo for a thorough evaluation of the Jacobson plan by a broad array of distinguished experts.

In turn, this evaluation should be monitored and guided by public comment, to ensure respect for community values and responsible supervision.

Glenn Sanders

Schoharie

Cut from the top down at Niskayuna schools

The guillotines [at Niskayuna schools] are going to come down hard on some individuals. Unfortunately, they won’t affect those at the top. Superintendent Susan Kay Salvaggio, her two assistants, the high school principal [John Rickert] and his two assistants take in payroll and benefits over $1 million.

Whatever happened to secretaries? Does the superintendent needs two assistants? Does “Jerry Maguire” [Rickert] need two assistants? Oh, yes; he needs to manage the high school, his sports agency, and a Friday morning radio show during football season.

Can anyone prove to me that the high school principal is 100 percent committed to the job if he has a multimillion-dollar sports agency?

Simply put, money talks. A sports agent cannot be a high school principal. Why focus so much on Mr. Rickert? The question is on the abuse of power and arrogance of few people in this town who decide for the majority.

Enough is enough. It’s only an increase of $188.88 per house assessed for 250,000? [But] that increase is on top of all the other increases over the years.

My tax bill has doubled since moving here 10 years ago. It would be different if property values were high, but the excessive tax rate has depressed property values.

The premise of some voters saying that we love our kids so we vote “yes” is insulting to the majority who voted down this budget, as if we hate our children.

There is no reason to pay $1 million for six people doing the job of three. Cut at the top if you want to convince me with a strong leadership.

Embarek Mesbahi

Niskayuna

GE suit vs. NiMo is all about a Hudson dam

News that GE is suing National Grid over the Hudson River PCB cleanup (April 20 brief) is but the latest twist in this continuing saga of environmental politics and accusations.

Because GE capacitor plants at Fort Edward/Hudson Falls discharged PCBs into the river above Fort Edward for some 30 years, they are labeled the villains by environmental activists. The situation deserves factual perspective, however, as there is plenty of culpability to go around.

It begins in 1972, when GE applied to the Environmental Protection Agency and received a permit to discharge 30 pounds per day of PCBs. Shortly thereafter, the detrimental effects of PCBs in the Great Lakes was recognized by EPA, and GE greatly reduced discharges, terminating them in 1975. Prior to 1973, a 40-foot (approximate) dam originally constructed in 1892 by International Paper Co. for the rafting of logs existed at Fort Edward.

When IP moved operations, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. assumed ownership responsibility for the dam as a potential hydropower site. However, by 1973, NiMo had decided against this and applied to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a permit to remove the dam. Prior to this date, DEC scientists had sampled and documented the sediment accumulation (3.5 meters) behind the Fort Edward dam, which included wood debris, bark and shale chips, logs, cinders, and paper sludge — all laced with PCBs.

In an action that defies explanation, the dam was pulled in August 1973, water level dropped about 15 feet and exposed the contaminated sediment mass to river flow. The opportunity for restricted local dredging was soon lost with a 100-year Hudson flood event in 1974, another in 1977, above-average high water discharges 1976–79, and a follow-up 50-year flood in 1983.

The deposition of eroded sediment downstream in the Thompson Island pool was documented by DEC from extensive sediment core sampling and dating of the profiles. These high-flow events, assisted by sediment, have distributed the contamination down-river to Waterford and the Troy Dam.

Clearly, wherever negligence lies in this debacle, it has been greatly compounded by ignoring the whims of Mother Nature, and by the application of some questionable science to the remediation effort.

George W. Putman

Saratoga Springs

The writer is a retired geologist who taught at SUNY Albany.

Gays shouldn’t be ruled out as Scout leaders

Re June 5 letter, “It’s one thing for gays to be Boy Scouts, quite another to be leaders”: Gary Guido gets it all wrong regarding banning gay leadership within the Boy Scouts.

If you’re accepting of young gay boys within the ranks of the Boy Scouts, and that the Boy Scouts are all about leadership, then wouldn’t one think that these same young boys will be outstanding leaders as grown men since they espouse all that is learned in the Boy Scouts?

Throughout my life, I’ve known many gay people in leadership positions, and I can tell you never once have I known them to be sexual abusers of children. Studies show that in the vast majority of cases, pedophiles are heterosexual males with children of their own!

Sexist innuendo regarding gays is just that — sexist.

Let’s hope that the leaders within the Boy Scouts don’t have a macho man like Jerry Sandusky lurking within their ranks to pounce on young boys — gay or straight.

Gerald Plante

Schenectady

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