What's in a name? When it comes to the "Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act," the legislation approved toward the end of the recent session in Albany, pretty much everything.
By committing the state to ambitious goals of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, it links New York with others leading an effort that used to be, and may one day again be, the responsibility of the federal government.
As with any such ambitious effort, the bill is a start toward a goal, not an end with the many challenges that will come along the way. One of those challenges will be fighting the lies that already are playing a prominent part, lies that are sure to be repeated endlessly and used in the campaigns for re-election that are now a year and a half away.
All of that time gives such lies a chance to spread, and as we have seen on the national level lies are very hard to fight, especially when they get repeated so often. So it is not too early to highlight them and debunk them. Nobody is in favor of pollution, but many don't mind a bit more. We see that in the conflict between those who want to resurrect the Danskammer plant on the Hudson using natural gas and those who oppose any more fossil fuel plants. If you want to stop pollution, you oppose it. If you don't mind a little more pollution, you favor it, especially if you get tax revenue and jobs and a nice donation for beautification.
When it comes to the new state law, those who dare not come out in favor of pollution say they are all for moving in this direction but are not sure we should be moving this far or this fast. And just to show how much they care, they raise the specter of California where they say similar visionary legislation is bringing large-scale importation of energy and rolling blackouts.
Do we want them? Of course not. Are they the likely result of our new law?
Let's examine the facts and see.
California is bracing for rolling blackouts this year but the many and varied sources of its energy have nothing to do with the warning. Last year's deadly and destructive fires were caused by problems with transmission lines so the major utilities in the state are warning people to be prepared for reductions in power when fire danger increases.
What about the charge that California has legislated itself into a corner where it needs to import a lot of energy? It already is a large importer and the California Energy Commission, hearing those criticisms, released relevant figures showing that the most abundant source of such imports was wind and that the mix of electricity flowing through the wires in the state remains very clean.
If you look at the facts, California is going where it wants to go and where we want to go when it comes to providing clean energy.
— Middletown Times Herald-Record
One popular housing program for low-income Americans has a provision that, at first glance, makes a lot of sense. It stipulates that people living in certain housing units meant for low-income tenants cannot be full-time students. If they switch to part-time status to keep their low-cost housing, they risk loss of student financial aid.
Taxpayers should not subsidize housing for most people who, because they chose to be full-time students, do not have income-producing jobs.
But U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have a concern about the rule. They have proposed it be changed so it does not apply to full-time students who are homeless or have been during recent years.
Why discourage those who, by their very homelessness or previous experience with it, are trying to improve their educations to get jobs, the two senators wonder. They think such people should be able to get both low-cost housing and student aid.
Providing their bill has safeguards to keep unscrupulous students from gaming the system, it is worth a look.
— The Gloversville Leader Herald
Have you heard the rumors aswirl that major-league baseball might be returning to Montreal?
It's exciting, and a number of circumstances actually make it believable. But don't start saving up for your half-season ticket just yet.
The two Florida teams in Major League Baseball are enduring hard times, in terms of attendance and finances. The Tampa Bay Rays are said to be considering playing part of their season in Montreal.
The Rays, in spite of their on-field success, draw only 14,546 fans per game. MLB has established protocols that don't require high attendance to ensure financial prosperity, but, even so, that figure is embarrassingly low. Only the Miami Marlins are more anemic in that department in all of baseball.
Montreal remembers what that is like. After rising to the top echelon of baseball performance in the mid 1990s in its first MLB incarnation as the Expos, poor management drained fan interest.
Created in 1969, the Expos fell from their pinnacle to their nadir by 2001, drawing only about 8,000 per game at a creaky Olympic Stadium before escaping to become the Washington Nationals in 2005.
But Montreal has remained a relocation or expansion option for Major League Baseball, even though it's widely regarded as a hockey city. More than 50,000 spectators fill the Big O every spring to watch a late-spring-training game. A new stadium would be required, as the old home is dilapidated and poorly situated.
But Montreal has burgeoned in the past two decades, economically and in other ways. Once thought of as a somewhat bleak metropolis — second biggest in Canada behind only Toronto — it is now brimming with wealth and prospects as bright as the renovated streetscapes indicate.
So Montreal is almost certain to improve the Rays' outlook for a devoted fan base, if the owners and league power brokers can devise and negotiate some way for Tampa Bay and Montreal to share a team.
But can the Rays thrive as a two-city team? Can Tampa Bay abide such an arrangement? Can Florida fans remain wed to a team that will move out partway through the season and celebrate any achievements way up north?
Major League Baseball is going to have to answer a lot of these questions, and it might turn out that this is not the best idea ever.
But at least it could be a chance for Montreal to get its foot back in the Major League Baseball door.
— The Plattsburgh Press-Republican