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The Political Week: Fracking, TZB Financing, Foreign Affairs

by Ben Wilcox

This week local pols posited on the future Tappan Zee Bridge, hydrofracking for gas in NYS and the release of an American from a Cuban jail. There was one cheer for a post office re-opening while citizens fear the closing of hundreds of others.

  • NYS Senator David Carlucci (Rockland – D) called on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to impose the strictest possible regulation and oversight for hydrofracking.  Last July the DEC recommended allowing hydraulic fracturing to mine  natural gas in Syracuse and the New York City watersheds. ‘€œThis is not a Democratic or Republican issue,” said Carlucci. “Rather it is an economic, environmental and public health concern that must be addressed with the strongest oversight by the DEC available.” Carlucci’s interest in the issue precedes his election as the youngest senator in the history of NY State in November, 2010.
  • And now for this week’s  Tappan Zee Times:
    • Governor Cuomo is the man with the plan to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge — but no financing. Well, at least not yet. Last week the Governor told a talk radio host he wanted to use union pension funds to finance the project. This week, Cuomo nixed that approach. And a good thing too: Albany’s Capitol Tonight says that if NYS uses pension funds under state control to pay for infrastructure improvements it runs the risk of being sued.
    • NYS Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (Suffern – D) has sided with the governor regarding Cuomo’s plan to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge without mass transit. Jaffee’s says the revised bridge plan will bring construction jobs to the Lower Hudson Valley. Environmentalists, local elected officials and the public cite studies by I-287 project planners that a bridge-only plan will only attract more traffic and increase congestion.
    • Our own conspiracy theory on why mass transit got the axe over the river: Why Wall Street Pushed Mass Transit Off The Tappan Zee Bridge.
  • Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) has demanded the release of Alan Gross, an American currently being detained in Cuba. Engel, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’ subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, says Gross’s ‘€œonly crime was passion for the Cuban Jewish community, and being an American.’€ Gross currently faces 15 years in prison for acts against the “Independence and Territorial Integrity” of Cuba.
  • As post offices across the nation are slated to close because the USPS can’t pay its bills, the West Nyack will reopen on Monday. The West Nyack Post Office will reopen on December 5 after flooding from Hurricane Irene in August shuttered it’s windows for three months.


Cartoon: “It Takes A Village: Hydrofracking Explained”  by Kipp Jarden Copyright 2011

Photo: NYS Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, NYS Senator David Carlucci and US Congressman Eliot Engel

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