A sampling of editorials from around New York

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 23, 2014 at 8:53 am •  Published: July 23, 2014
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York Post on the state's proposal to shut down a nuclear power plant for 42 days each year.

July 21

If you like your air-conditioning, you can keep your air-conditioning.

That's the state's vow, as it proposes shutting Westchester's Indian Point nuclear power plant for 42 days between May 10 and Aug. 10 each year. If you believe it, we have some health insurance to sell you.

The shutdown idea will be on tap today at a Department of Environmental Conservation hearing. Folks who don't read The Post might not know this, since the hearing wasn't listed on the agency's calendar (perhaps in an effort to keep turnout low).

Only in New York would a state agency suggest closing a power plant in summer, when electricity is needed most. The state says a summer shutdown will help protect Hudson River fish harmed by the plant's use of river water.

Alternatively, it says Indian Point could build massive towers that recycle water.

But the multibillion-dollar cost for new towers would balloon electric bills. And besides, there's scant evidence fish are being seriously harmed.

Last year, Riverkeeper's Robert Kennedy said the Hudson is one of the few rivers in our hemisphere "that still has strong spawning stocks of all its historical species. It's Noah's Ark," he said. "The last refuge" for animals going extinct elsewhere.

Meantime, Gov. Cuomo wants to shut the plant for good. Which is why many think the state's summer closing plan is really meant to make Indian Point uneconomical.

New York's electric costs are already among the nation's highest. Growing demand will only push costs higher — and Gov. Cuomo's fracking ban doesn't help.

Surely, New York needs more juice, not less.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/1p6BdUd

The Post-Standard of Syracuse on financing the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

July 17

The Tappan Zee Bridge replacement got its controversial loan from a state-managed clean water fund — and taxpayers still don't have answers about how the entire $3.9 billion project will be financed.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, and the two other members of the Public Authorities Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a loan from the Environmental Facilities Corp. for work on the Thruway bridge over the Hudson River.

We're disappointed the board didn't hold out until the Cuomo administration laid out the financials. DeFrancisco made noises about voting no without seeing them. Alas, no financial plan was produced before the vote — but the senator said he had enough information to cast a reasonable vote in favor.

After seeing Thruway revenue projections, DeFrancisco said it's clear to him tolls will have to be increased to help pay for the bridge. Increased by how much? Nobody knows.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo owes New Yorkers some answers. How much will tolls rise? How are taxpayers going to pay for the rest of the bridge? Is the loan from EFC the first of many schemes to come up with the money from other corners of state government? Is this any way to execute a major infrastructure project?

Environmentalists and good government groups characterize the EFC loan as a "raid" on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a pot of mostly federal money earmarked for sewage treatment plants. They question whether spending it on bridge construction meets the letter and spirit of the Clean Water Act.

So does New York's top federal environmental official. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck, in a meeting Wednesday with the Syracuse Media Group editorial board, said she did not believe the bridge work qualifies as a water quality project. She objected to the lack of public comment and the haste with which EFC approved the loan. Enck also questioned how EFC could make the loan when the state's sewage treatment systems need tens of billions of dollars in repairs.

All of that argued for more discussion of the EFC loan. Instead, at DeFrancisco's urging, the board approved half of the $511 million requested by the Thruway Authority; they'll have to come back for approval of the other half in 2016. By that time, we'll see if the first $256 million was spent to address environmental issues caused by bridge construction. If it wasn't, DeFrancisco said he'll vote no on the second loan -- if he's still on the board.

EPA is sure to audit the bridge spending. If found to be improper, the feds can hold back future clean water funds. That's no deterrent and would only punish municipalities that need sewage plant upgrades they cannot afford.

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http://bit.ly/1zMyNmd

Newsday on the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

July 18

As last week slammed to a close with searing images of a Malaysia Airlines jet smoldering in Ukrainian fields, the American president who once ran for office promising "to deal with the world as it is rather than what it might be" stepped to the microphones to give a not-so-subtle warning to Russia about igniting Cold War II.

Barack Obama was quite correct to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin a finger-wagging lecture on Friday. Obama said "there will be costs" if Russia proceeds with any military activities in Ukraine.

The president is also right to demand an international response, and he should keep up pressure on European leaders, who until now have been quite reluctant to confront the megalomanic Russian president. While Obama was careful not to directly put blood on Putin's hands, his advisers were less diplomatic.

Before Obama's White House remarks, Samantha Power, our ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council in Manhattan that the Russian weapons were so technically complex that it was "impossible to rule out" that the separatists weren't trained by their Russian sponsors.

Beyond the immediate diplomatic and economic actions the United States and our allies must take, the tragic loss of life could underscore a philosophical turning point — reversing America's growing retreat from world affairs.

How could it not?

Suddenly a civil war that has raged quietly in an obscure part of the world has broken out into the open — claiming 298 innocent souls.

It's now evident that a surface-to-air missile destroyed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over a section of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists. It's possible the combatants who fired the missiles thought they had targeted a military aircraft. They had boasted earlier of shooting down at least two Ukrainian military planes.