RENewsletter | June 6, 2010

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

5/03/2010 – 6/06//2010]

 

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Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |

 

 

[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]

 

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Opening Salvo:  “Closing our parks, tough environmental choices”

 

The prospect of closing a quarter of our New York State parks looked ominous indeed as the Memorial Day weekend approached this year.  But at the last minute, a hasty deal was made: Governor Paterson to Introduce Bill to Fully Fund State Parks and Historical Sites “Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he will send a bill to the Legislature that would provide funding to continue the operation of State parks and historic sites this year. Enactment of this bill would allow 41 State parks and 14 historic sites to remain open and would provide for continued services at 23 parks and one historic site. The bill would also continue necessary and critical programs funded through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).” Governor Press Releases, 5/24/2010

 

But not all agree that the EPF will be protected. Some groups say this deal came at quite a cost, meaning when it comes to preserving and protecting more land, we’ll have less money to do that. 

 

“While today’s agreement reopens our state parks, it is bittersweet for New Yorkers as it comes at a high price - greatly reduced funding for environmental programs. New York's dedicated funding source for more than 30 environmental programs, the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), will receive $134 million for the 2010-11 state fiscal year, a 37 percent cut from last year’s funding level and one of the lowest levels of funding in a decade. This disproportionately large cut comes on top of the nearly $500 million that has been swept from the EPF in recent years, which has created a significant backlog of unfunded projects, straining organizations, municipalities and others partnering with the state on environmental programs.” (Friends of New York’s Environment:  “Protecting our land, air and water”, 5/28/2010)

 

As Governor Patterson, President Obama, and both political parties continually remind us, we have tough choices to make in the days ahead.  Jobs, social programs, you-name-it are all on the chopping block because our economy is not healthy yet.  Our parks were on the chopping block, but that tough choice was shuffled so as to rob Paul-the-EPF to pay Peter-the-Parks.  When times get tough, our choices tend to lean towards treating our environment like the ultimate sugar daddy.

 

This makes me wonder what is going to be the final outcome of the BP Oil Spill in these tough economic times.  This disaster presents an interesting model for how we will address slowly-evolving disasters (climate change is an even more slowly-evolving disaster) that seems immune to quick technological and budget fixes.  Are we going to continue to drill for off-shore oil despite the cost to our environment?  Or are we going to conserve energy and change course to start using alternative energy sources?

 

Some will think our tough choice on drilling will be clear.  When our economy is in trouble, we just cannot afford to have a nice clean environment as we would all like.  We’ll have to suck it up and tolerate an oily ocean or two so that everyone will have all the energy they want.

 

Others will think that that our tough choice will be just as clear.  When our environment is in trouble in the way that a massive oil spill puts it in trouble, continued drilling would be like poking a lion with a stick and expecting it to lick your hand. 

 

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

 

 

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UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]

 

 

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EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line.

 

 

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ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 

 

 

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AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]