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Letter to the Oceanside/Island Park Editor (Jan. 30-Feb. 5)

Posted

Putting the Barrett plant into perspective

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the article, “I.P. residents confront LIPA, county officials” (Jan. 23-29). All of the complaining about the E.F. Barrett Generation Station needs to be put into perspective.

To begin with, yes, I agree that the new taxes that will be levied against Island Park residents are a huge burden and grossly unfair, but there are other issues.

The plant initially burned coal, and in the 1950s, it was common to take the wash from the outside clothing line (yes, we did that back then) and have to shake-off tiny specs of coal dust. The coal was brought in by dozens of freight cars pulled by the Long Island Rail Road, providing hundreds of jobs from Virginia to New York. No, it was not the healthiest of environments, but no one complained about it because we were provided with cheap, plentiful energy.

The second plant was built in the late 1950s and early ’60s in response to growing demand, and the fuel to fire the plants was changed to natural gas. This was and is clean, safe and efficient. No one complained — especially when they turned up their air conditioner in the summer and left their hi-hat lighting burning for hours on end.

Are the emissions from the plant’s stacks bad for the environment? It’s hard to say. Yes, it probably contains some questionable gasses, but the fact is that Long Island continues to expand at a rapid pace, and electricity is needed now more than ever before.

Solar energy is clean and cheap; however, it is more practical out West because of the large landmasses that can accommodate thousands of solar panels, not to mention the almost continuous available sunlight. Here in the Northeast, we have limited land space, and many days of cloudiness and snow, none of which is conducive to solar energy.

So please, let’s stop complaining about the power plant so much. It serves a valuable function and was constructed in the middle of nowhere long before many Island Park residents began moving near the plant.

Keith Andoos, Oceanside