Letters (Jan. 21-28)

mail-letter-sqOppose Pilgrim Pipeline

Drivers on the Thruway deal with heavy traffic, reckless drivers, highway construction, lane changes, accidents that can delay for hours and, of course, weather.

But a new safety problem looms. The Thruway Authority is considering allowing parallel pipelines to be built in the highway’s right-of-way, and has accepted an application from the Pilgrim Pipeline Company.

A single six-foot trench would hold two pipes, one carrying volatile Bakken Crude oil south to New Jersey refineries, and the other containing refined products such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel north to Albany. Pilgrim claims the pipelines would each carry 200,000 barrels per day. Compressor stations, pump stations and meter stations would also be built.

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Public records show pipelines leak, often undetected for months, with recent spills in Santa Barbara, Calif. and Mayflower, Ark. The towns of Newburgh and New Windsor would also be exposed to two additional lateral lines connecting to the Hudson River shoreline.

Pilgrim’s plan would affect our safety, our property values, economic development, drinking water, air quality and more. Eight Orange County municipalities are opposing the project, including the towns of Newburgh and New Windsor. Important opposition also comes from New Paltz, Kingston, Plattekill, Rosendale, Woodstock, among many other communities.

Meanwhile, when the Thruway accepted Pilgrim’s application this past August, they waited three months to announce it. That’s troubling.

Our governor can halt this dangerous plan. Tell him it’s not good for us or our communities. All of us who travel the Thruway, who live near it, or near the lateral lines, or within breathing distance, need to email the governor ASAP. Pilgrim Pipeline wants to start digging in 2016.

Email Gov. Cuomo at gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us, or call him at 518-474-8390.

Sandra Kissam
Town of Newburgh

 

Act professionally, CMRR

There are now only a little over four months left before the expiration of the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s 30-year lease on the Ulster & Delaware corridor. With president Ernie Hunt’s recent statement that CMRR “absolutely” intends to submit a proposal for future tourist train operations, it is incumbent on the organization to perform what any tenant in any lease situation would be expected — to exit the premises having moved its belongings out, leaving the leased facility “broom-clean,” in rental parlance. There is currently scant evidence that the CMRR has the plans, capability or even intention to do so.

For starters, the new county policy clearly calls for trail-only from midtown Kingston to the Kingston Plaza, meaning the CMRR will need to clean up and vacate its Cornell Street yard, thus relocating significant rolling stock as well as dealing with the disposal of years of industrial-level waste and debris. That alone is a daunting task. The removal of just one of the rusty cars that have haunted the tracks near Route 209 took months to complete and CMRR is working with a small volunteer workforce.

In addition to Cornell Street, there are rusty old cars extant in the Hurley Flats section, an old railroad crane, other cars and an abandoned shed in Shokan, and piles of tires and stacks of old creosote ties strewn at different places all along the corridor. A professional organization would have a detailed, decommission timeline for the cleanup and exit process over the few remaining months, but the CMRR has presented no such plan.

Many would argue whether the CMRR should be considered a valid entity even to bid for new operations given its past grievous shortfalls of lease obligations — including, according to recent court rulings, a glaring failure to rehabilitate track; the lack of maintenance of brush, paper and trash that has led, in places, to enormous deterioration of the asset; and “faulty calculations of rent due” in its accounting practices. In a strictly commercial enterprise, a landlord would run screaming away from further involvement with a tenant exhibiting a history of any such actions.

If the CMRR is to have hope of future operations on county property it is imperative that it acts now to take the needed steps to exit the current lease in a professional manner, leaving the corridor open and clear for a fair, transparent and competitive bidding process in which it might be one competing entity.

William Sheldon
Kingston

 

Egg confusion

Heads up. I have noticed that a brand, Hudson Valley Eggs, are being substituted for Feather Ridge Eggs (which are antibiotic-free, free-range and vegetable-fed) in many of our local stores. Some of the stores actually promote Hudson Valley Eggs as antibiotic and free-range but they were not as attested to when I called Hudson Valley Eggs to find out. Hudson Valley does have eggs that are raised from humanely raised chickens but they are labeled on the box. The ones being sold now, for a similar price to Feather Ridge, are normal run-of-the-mill eggs.

So for those of us who are trying to keep our bodies and the bodies of our children safer by feeding our families with what we believe is a better-quality food, please note that these Hudson Valley Eggs, unless marked as antibiotic, free-range and vegetable-fed, are not. The boxes must be marked.

Bruce Levy
Saugerties