Congress should ban fracking on fed lands
A new Environment New York report highlights fracking’s dirty track record. The analysis of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania shows that all types of gas fracking companies are prone to infractions of environmental and public health protections.
Over a nearly four-year period, the top 20 violators of regulations included Fortune 500 companies, mom-and-pop operators and even companies like Chevron, which tout their green records. Taken altogether, the worst offenders averaged a violation every single day that posed real risks to human health, air quality or drinking water.
This is just the latest study showing that fracking is a failure for our environment and health. That’s why we’re calling on New York’s congressional delegation to support a ban on fracking on federal public lands.
New York City
The writer is director of Environment New York.
Concerned over the state of Union hockey
I just read Mike MacAdam’s March 11 “A Seat in the Bleachers” column [“Losses keep piling up for Union College women’s hockey”], and though I don’t always agree with him, he raised some valid points about Union’s women’s ice hockey team.
First, I love watching ice hockey and used to love coaching and playing until my legs retired. Second, women’s ice hockey isn’t as fast or physical as men’s hockey. But in part because it isn’t as fast or as physical, it can showcase more skills and playmaking. For me, both men’s and women’s hockey games are exciting and interesting to watch.
The same cannot be said for the Union College men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. Although the skill levels of Union’s women’s and men’s teams have improved dramatically over the early years of Division 1, I don’t believe the women’s coaching has.
Furthermore, I am concerned that this situation may be allowed to continue because of a sexual bias that men should enjoy winning games while women should just enjoy playing them. I doubt that a men’s hockey coach at Union would be allowed to continue with such little progress after eight years.
I suspect that what little progress has been shown by the women’s team is due more to a few short-lived excellent assistant coaches than the head coach.
Don’t neglect design-build legislation
It is particularly distressing to hear that the governor and the Legislature cannot agree to reauthorize renewal of design-build legislation for New York.
The Design-Build Institute of America has released research findings indicating that for the first time, more than half of projects in the United States above $10 million are being completed through design-build project delivery. It is indeed a great tool to repair our transportation and infrastructure projects in a fast, efficient manner.
However, the Cuomo administration has tied design-build to mandatory project labor agreements (PLAs). PLAs mandate union-only projects and are unrelated to extending design-build legislation. PLAs are simply politically motivated to serve special interest groups. Design-build legislation needs to be an available tool to public agencies without any restrictions so that both union and merit-shop contractors can compete in the free marketplace using innovative and unique approaches to solve problems without a government mandate of what type of labor needs to be employed on the project.
If a union contractor can give a better value than a merit-shop contractor, the taxpayer wins. America is built on the free enterprise system that works amazingly well. However, it is truly the taxpayers of New York state who once again lose.
Fixing our infrastructure doesn’t buy votes and it is a problem that won’t be going away. Unrestricted design-build legislation could be part of the solution.
The writer is a vice president of construction for Schultz Construction.
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