The Niagara Bottling proposal is complex and has problems at multiple levels.
The problem is larger than plastic water bottle waste.
Water is a survival need which humans must meet to exercise their inherent right to life. It’s a public and municipal resource. That comes before its being a revenue source.
At the lowest level, what is the recharge capacity of the water supply itself? Niagara Bottling would consume the unused 25 percent of the Kingston city water supply. Local evidence of climate change raises the question whether recharge rates will decline. If we are locked into a contract with Niagara, will we have enough water for ourselves in 20, 10 or even five years?
The proposal’s site environmental footprint raises serious concerns about the contents and management of the waste stream, water needs for plant operations and traffic loads and other demand placed on local infrastructure.
The risk of segmentation State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process prohibits arises at the next level. Who will assess the effects of removing half a billion gallons of water per year from our local environment? When we use our water locally, it returns to the local watershed and stays available to us. If we remove a quarter of one of the major parts of our local water cycle, how will our regional ecosystem change?
This project also has problems in the economic arena. Private-sector actors dressing up like white knights and promising jobs and revenue to local governments is as old as marginal local economies.
History shows that the knights often turn out to be thieves and hucksters, don’t deliver jobs or revenue, pollute the landscape, take the local community to court when then their unsustainable demands are not met. They fail to lay the golden eggs the locals hope for.
Finally, extractive industries are a negative for the social, political, economic and ecological environments they operate in. Impoverished third-world countries selling resources to powerful outsiders are a valid comparison to what is being proposed here. You don’t trade away your public resources for cash; you build local production that uses them sustainably. That’s harder, but if you hand them away, you get a homeland impoverished and soiled — including by plastic bottles in this case — for the long term. Short-term revenues don’t make up for that.
Johannes Sayre, Kingston
Of carping and eggs
It keeps happening. So we see Mr. Reynolds carp about Hein, and then take a swipe at Gallo, and they are attacks on person, not program, not governance. That’s the kind of guy you don’t want for your boss, who treats you poorly or even fires you because, after all, this is his personal business and he doesn’t like you all that much … yeah, you do a good job, but that doesn’t make him happy. Worse, you could have him for your headhunter, your employment agency (or, alas, your political party boss) … so he is really the wrong guy to be looking for a job for you … he doesn’t like you all that much, so your skills are overlooked. And then, well, the boss has a nephew.
And talk about getting emotional, and remembrance of things past, faux pas … so we have excellent management, police, civic engagement and a hard-working mayor who totally loves his job, knows his job, and puts in the huge hours it takes to do it well …
Putting the horse before the cart, we have the story of the couple who brought their old dad into the doctor’s office because, well, dad seemed to think he was a chicken. “We’d like to fix that, but you know, we really need the eggs.”
Hey, people: we need the eggs. Keep ’em coming …
Gerald Berke, Kingston
On WGHQ Kingston Community Radio, on Friday, Jan. 23, Mike Hein and I discussed the Catskill Mountain Railroad. I asked Mike to let Ward Todd broker a meeting with him and the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Also, I asked Mike why “trail walkarounds” could not be used between the Hurley Flats and the Glenford Dike to accommodate the trail, similar to the extensive “walk-around” planned for the trail between Kingston and the Hurley Flats. Why rip up the tracks between the Hurley Flats and Glenford when you don’t have to? To listen to the radio chat, go to Facebook and enter “KCR” or “Kingston Community Radio.” Then, scroll down to Ralph Mitchell’s Jan. 26, 2015 posting.
Ralph Mitchell, Kingston