Distorted Picture - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2246454

Distorted Picture

Thanks to Kathleen Boziwick for her “The Big Picture” letter [April 18] reminding us of Earth Day, a time for reflection and action on our environmental stewardship responsibilities.

As a past president of the Science Museum of Long Island, I was part of a small, largely ignored, group that declared the first Earth Day some five decades ago. It is a joy to see the clean-air and clean-water progress that has been made since then.

It is troubling, however, to see our progress imperiled by well-meaning but misdirected proposals for our energy future, such as advocating the Canal BESS site location in Hampton Bays. In promoting shoehorning 100 million watts of combustible lithium battery storage into a residential community in Hampton Bays, Ms. Boziwick writes that similar facilities are “already succeeding in Texas and California.”

But Hampton Bays is not Texas or California. Look at where these sites are located. They are in splendid isolation. Hampton Bays may be splendid, but it is not isolated.

In fact, as reported recently on these pages, Thomas Falcone, CEO of the Long Island Power Authority, expressed doubts about locating battery energy storage systems anywhere on the entire crowded South Fork, much less in a residential zone at a choke point of all east-west road and rail traffic.

While I appreciate Ms. Boziwick’s eagerness, would she be as keen to locate 30 trailers of lithium batteries, with a very sketchy safety record, across the street from her house in Sag Harbor?

A few years before the first Earth Day, there was a very vocal group that urged that we keep fighting in Vietnam forever, just as long as someone else did the fighting. Back then, we called those safe-at-home conflict cheerleaders “chicken-hawks.” They were bloodthirsty, just as long as it wasn’t their blood.

I get the same feeling from Ms. Boziwick’s letter: Stick this ugly, noisy, dangerous industrial facility in a Hampton Bays residential neighborhood. Let them take the risk and pay the price for our green energy future.

This sacrifice-free enthusiasm isn’t “The Big Picture.” It’s a distorted picture. It fails to see the impact of their preconceived notions and the obstacles they create.

The way ahead, to preserve the environment and meet our energy needs, will be difficult enough without victimizing our neighbors and stirring up resistance. Start by finding the best industrial location for BESS, not the cheapest or the most expedient.

Bill Muir

Hampton Bays