Thingish Things

The Stasis State

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 06•11

Fukishima has naturally spurred debate in the U.S. over nuclear power.

Here in New York, the most hotly contested facility remains Indian Point. Its opponents dusted off their talking points within hours of the Fukishima situation and cranked back up the PR machine. We’re reading the stories they’ve generated now.

But everyone knows Indian Point isn’t going anywhere. Even its opponents know that. And the reason is a larger problem, far more dangerous to New York than any nuclear facility. It’s that nothing big happens here anymore.

The Empire State has become the Stasis State.  Grand projects come here to die. Whether it’s a stadium project, infrastructure development, or natural gas drilling, New York finds a way to kill it.

Indian Point, like it or not, cannot be replaced. It provides nearly a quarter of New York City’s and Westchester’s electricity, a full 12 percent of the state’s power. Just try replacing that. With what?  In which state?

Politico has a good story on this today. It cites frustration  with Governor Andrew Cuomo among Indian Point opponents for his failure to plan for alternative energy sources that might replace Indian Point’s 2000 megawatts of power.

In fairness to the Governor, he’s been in office for four months, and he’s been a little busy with the budget. But even if this was his number one priority, what would he propose? Ten new coal plants along the Hudson River, stretching from, say, 287 to the West 79th Street Boat Basin? A massive — and potentially vulnerable — gas pipeline from Canada, cutting through hundreds of billions of dollars worth of private real estate? Just how many lawyers does the state have?

Plant sightings are so controversial that there’s not even a law on the books in New York to allow for them. The former law, called Article X, expired a decade ago. In the past, power generating plants were put in less desirable places, i.e, where poor people live (or vice versa.)  That no longer flies, so any new plants would have to be “geographically balanced.” I wonder how Scarsdalians feel about coal?

The debate over Indian Point is sure to go on. Too many non-for-profit organizations and aspiring politicians have an stake in it.  A lot of paper and emails will fly back and forth.  Hearings will be held,  and big fat reports will get written, all under the lights provided by one power facility in Buchanan, NY called Indian Point.

P.S.: Sorry for the blank page all morning.  My internet has been down.

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One Comment

  1. Your Friend says:

    Perhaps you could help me get the word out about one of the greatest scientific advances in human history. I know I’m inclined toward hyperbole, but I’m serious here. The link below describes a paper delivered by Daniel Nocera, Ph.D. of M.I.T. at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society relating to the successful creation of an artifical leaf. No, not a fake plant, but a leaf that can perform the miracle of natural leaves, the miracle of photsynthesis. It’s an invention that can change the world. Assuming politicians don’t mess it all up.

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