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Keystone Pipeline would divert nasty oil trains, trucks

Sunday, February 9, 2014
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Keystone Pipeline would divert nasty oil trains, trucks

Reporter Ed Munger Jr. [Feb. 2 article, “Peril on the Rails”] describes the potential danger of increased shipment of oil by train through many of our local communities. In addition, he might have described the environmental damage this rail traffic is causing, even without accidents, and how it could be eliminated.

Lots of oil is now being extracted from shale deposits in western Canada and the Dakotas. It has to be shipped to refineries far away. One way is overland by truck or train tankers to a port, then by ship to refineries. This is why trains of tankers are crossing the country, including upstate New York, to reach ports like Albany’s.

Long train after train of black-like-oil tank cars rumble through my village of Ballston Spa daily — noise pollution. As they pass, chandeliers sway and the foundations of homes shake — seismic pollution. The long black trains perch precariously on the three overpasses in the village while Amtrak express trains speed by on the other line. I drive under them, hoping the rusty railroad bridge won’t collapse — anxiety pollution. The acrid diesel exhaust from their idling engines permeates the air — air pollution.

You would think environmentalists would be raising their voices in protest. Instead, they have stubbornly resisted an efficient and practical alternative to overland transport of crude oil across our country and state. They have blocked construction of the privately funded Keystone Pipeline from the oil-producing areas to the Gulf of Mexico, where many refineries already exist and port facilities handle oil and oil products on an ongoing basis.

Oil does not have to be transported this way. Years ago, plans to build a pipeline were created; in Canada, this pipeline, called the Keystone Pipeline, is already under construction with private funding. The United States’ portion is on hold due to concerns raised by environmentalists. For years studies by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] have stalled construction of this pipeline, but recently, since modifications were made, the EPA gave it their stamp of approval.

President Obama, however, is dithering. We citizens of the great Northeast must let him and his fellow lockstep Democrats know that our environment is important too.

Allow that pipeline to be built so oil can flow to refineries, not rumble through our villages, towns and cities.

Forman Phillips

Ballston Spa

Editorial on council vacancy was right on

I want to thank the Gazette opinion editors for supporting my public position of leaving Denise Brucker’s City Council seat vacant until the November 2014 election [Feb. 5 editorial].

As so well pointed out in the editorial, holding elected office consists of a few things; among them is being chosen by the voters to serve and another is the total commitment to the very office they seek. Unfortunately, it appears neither of these apply to the person selected by the Democratic city committee to fill this seat, Ed Kosiur.

Mr. Kosiur, after being appointed and then winning the seat as an appointed incumbent, left the City Council after only two years to run for county Legislature in 2003, and is now willing to leave his position on the Schenectady school board after serving less than one year instead of running for re-election.

An elected official cannot serve two masters; they must only serve the electorate who have put their trust in that candidate by the power of their vote.

I can only hope that at least two of my council colleagues feel the same way.

Vince Riggi

Schenectady

The writer is a city councilman.

Bow Tie has failed to live up to potential

At dinner with friends the other night, Schenectady’s Bow Tie Cinema became the topic of conversation.

We all happen to be city residents and were thrilled when Metroplex made the announcement of the Bow Tie theater. A quote from what I believe was a news release back then said, “The Schenectady theater will show quality commercial and art movies. Films like ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘Cinderella Man’ will be typical of its offerings.”

It was pretty solid among my dinner companions that we and our families/friends had the same mind set in 2007, that we wouldn’t venture out of downtown for movies anymore; we were going to support our city and the new movie house. We often supported local restaurants and businesses before or after the movie, too. That was then, and now we venture out of Schenectady for most movies.

We discussed this year’s best picture nominees and how so few have made it to State Street. How can this possibly be? Who is the target audience? What audience(s) have been dismissed and why? Was the high quality and art film promise part of the agreement with Metroplex?

We love downtown Schenectady. Great food, great theater, farmers’ market, Jay Street. [But] Bow Tie Cinema needs to live up to its potential.

Suzanne Gold

Schenectady

Devil will be in the trash deal’s details

The proposed waste disposal contract between Montgomery and Fulton counties sounds like it would be a positive idea [Feb. 6 Gazette].

However, there should be an opportunity for public input. We don’t need another MOSA-type disaster. Before anything is approved by county legislators, I would like to know the details — how much and for what, etc.

John L. Griffith

Fultonville

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