Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Is this the "Consolation Prize" for not getting the Chip Fab? Will this reduce the suitability of the Marcy Chip Fab Site? Will it eliminate Marcy as a back up site for the AMD Chip Plant? These questions remain unanswered.
In the meantime, the State of New York has become a slum lord in West Utica. If the State is unwilling to develop "brownfields," how could it expect anyone else to do so? Its approach appears to be to abandon old facilities and build on virgin land. This is bad public policy, particularly in cities such as Utica where entire neighborhoods are affected.
Another facet of this story: What are the site selection criteria? Why the big secret? At this point given the waste of public property going on in west Utica, the people are entitled to know. Perhaps the state is only doing its project on the cheap (like the homeland security facility at the County Airport) to pay a political debt . . . and everyone knows it's more expensive to build on a brownfield than virgin territory.
Same old, same old ....
[8PM update: The Rome Sentinel also has a story on this development, but the impact on the Chip Fab site's marketability and its status as a "backup" for AMD's Luther Forest project are again not mentioned. Fault Lines suspects there is concern by certain Albany-area officials that Luther Forest will not be able to get all its ducks in a row (particularly water availability) quickly enough to satisfy AMD, and that AMD will switch to Marcy as backup. It makes no sense that an actual transfer of the land has to be made merely to "analyze" the site's suitability for the data center -- unless the real intent is to shrink/divide/or otherwise alter the site to eliminate its qualification as "AMD's "backup." Where are there expressions of concern from Sen. Meier, Mr. Griffo, and Mr. Julian on this?]
Monday, September 25, 2006
The answer is that plenty has been going on. A Memorandum of Understanding between the signatory states was released 12/20/05 and amended 8/8/06. A 163 page Model Rule was released 8/15/06. New York State DEC just announced that New York will propose a draft regulation this fall. So, it appears that the Northeast is well on its way to bringing itself into allignment with those countries who signed on to the Kyoto Protocol even though the US as a whole has not.
What does RGGI have to do with Kudzu? If you remember Kudzu, planting of the vine was encouraged to control erosion. It did that very well ... In fact, it did that too well. The vine grew like crazy and became a problem itself, choking out beneficial vegetation and, basically, coverning everything, including entire buildings.
Kudzu illustrates the "Law of Unintended Consequences" (or LUC): An action intended to solve one problem creates a host of unforseen effects. Bad LUC happens when someone concentrates so hard on the solution of a problem that potential negative effects of a different nature go totally unnoticed. We fear that will be the case with RGGI.
First of all, Faultlines is skeptical that RGGI, even if combined with a fully implemented Kyoto Protocol, has any potential to significantly alleviate global warming. While anthropogenic global warming appears to be taken as "gospel" by many scientists and politicians, there are a number of professionals who feel that the theories are not sound enough upon which to base public policy.
Assuming for the sake of argument that RGGI will contribute to solving the global warming "problem," what other effects will RGGI create? The fact is, we don't know because it has not been studied. The National Environmental Policy Act and the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act were intended to avoid unintended consequences by requiring a thorough study of impacts before actions (including policy making in NY) are taken. We've searched all over and have yet to find an environmental impact statement for RGGI. So we don't know what the unintended consequences of RGGI might be. We suspect that the RGGI carbon cap-and-trade system will hasten the abandonnment of fossil-fuel fired generating plants Downstate, increasing the need to "import" "clean" energy from or through other areas SUCH AS UPSTATE.
Will Upstaters really care that the world's temperature is .0001 degree cooler when their landscape gets covered with windmills and powerlines to feed the Downstate market? We don't think so.
RGGI was the brainchild of Gov. Patacki, someone who is interested in higher office and might want to appear "green" for a national audience. We don't think RGGI has been adequately thought through . . . Neither does Massachusetts nor Rhode Island which opted out of the agreement.
Before any further action is taken to implement RGGI, an Environmental Impact Statement needs to be developed that examines, among other things, how Upstate NY will be impacted.
The whining is sickening ...
Thursday, September 21, 2006
"Vehicle emissions are the single most rapidly growing source of the carbon emissions contributing to global warming, yet the federal government and automakers have refused to act.
"It is time to hold these companies responsible for their contribution to this crisis," he said."
The questionable science (and questionable law) behind this aside, isn't California employing a double standard? What state is more emblematic of America's love affair with the internal combustion engine than California? What state other than California is synonymous with the word "freeway?" Indeed, would California have grown to its present population were it not for the automobile?
California could have opted for a vast European style of public transportation so people would not have to rely upon automobiles, but, as a matter of state public policy, it opted for a vast highway network instead. [As a side note York Staters had an interesting piece over the summer comparing public transportation in Syracuse with Bilbao.] California has an ability to control where urban development takes place and the density of that development. It could have adopted regulations requiring a more European pattern of land use, but it instead opted for sprawl, either intentionally or laissez-faire, which pretty much requires people to have their own vehicles.
Given all the opportunities California has to directly and indirectly control the use of automobiles, given all the policy choices California has made to encourage and practically mandate the use of automobiles, California is far more responsible for its global warming predicament than the automakers it is suing.
California is deflecting from its own culpability for global warming.*
*[assuming, of course, that human contribution is real and significant.]
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
""My philosophy is, citizens don't have all the information we have," Reed said. "
You're darn right, Mr. Reed, you've done a great job keeping public information secret.
Mr. Reed's tenure seems to be bringing more citizen exclusion from public information: The town's assessment roles have been removed from the town website (all the harder to see which residents are getting "favored treatment" from their town). The current and past Town Budgets have been removed from the website. The Town's controversial agreement with Prestwick Glen has also been removed. (The elite who run our community apparently don't want their tax-free-retirement-at-everyone-else's-expense status to shine in the light of public scrutiny).
Mr. Reed seems to have learned this lesson well: If you can control the information available to the public, you can control the public.
A trend is emerging, and it's not a good one.
[5:15 update: Super Sleuth Mrs. Mecomber at Mohawk Valley View has tracked down an "unofficial" Town of New Hartford Website that has a wealth of information, including a lot of what is no longer available at the "official" site. Looks like hours of reading enjoyment! She gives an interesting story about the alternative site, too.]
DON'T MISS IT!
This makes a terrific autumn afternoon walk. More info on the opening is available from the Town of Trenton. For our friends who searched on "Fault Lines" looking for geological information, here is a Trenton Falls Geology link that might interest you.
In the mean time, here is a preview of what you will see (from a golden afternoon last fall):
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Today we have another editorial in the OD singing the consolidation song …
“We have been unwilling to make the tough decisions necessary to make this area grow. This is most evident in our failure to embrace consolidation. . . .
“Perhaps this is most evident in the failure to consolidate our economic development efforts. Originally many people believed that Oneida County EDGE would replace the many smaller economic development agencies that existed at the time, but this encountered much resistance and EDGE became an “umbrella” agency linking these smaller groups.”
What the writer refuses to recognize is that there is a strong perception that EDGE primarly works for Rome’s benefit rather than the region as a whole. Mayor Julian has complained about it. Herkimer County has complained about it. It has to be a strong perception when Sen. Hillary Clinton, who doesn’t normally concern herself with local politics, picked up on it. Other “consolidation” programs are perceived similarly.
In this region, “consolidation” is perceived as taking from one community to give to another, with the decisions of who wins and who loses left to an elite group of insiders. For that reason, consolidation a/k/a “regionalization” will never be embraced, and SHOULD NOT BE.
Fault Lines has previously blogged about this issue on several occasions. How regionalization/consolidation in the form of the Part-County Sewer District benefits New Hartford at the expense of surrounding municipalities is discussed here and here. How regionalization of the water system/auditorium/Utica Youth Bureau benefitted suburban areas at the expense of Utica is discussed here. Fault Lines discussed “consolidation” in an historical context, contrasted “metro-government” with regionalization, and explained the difference between “sprawl” and “growth“.
“Consolidation” should be strictly limited to those things where one community will not sense it is being taken advantage of to benefit another: eg., centralized purchasing, perhaps.