Say 'no' to LNG; firefighters union questions ICMA study; 'moved' by Cuomo tribute


Say ‘no’ to LNG, Cuomo

The following letter was addressed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a copy was forwarded to the Herald.

I am writing to you regarding the proposal by Liberty Natural Gas, LLC to develop the Port Ambrose offshore liquefied natural gas facility. I have heard from constituents and local elected officials who have all expressed concerns about the potential negative impact this project may have on many communities that I represent.

Over the past few months, the Long Beach City Council, local civic associations, and many residents of the barrier island have expressed their strong opposition to this proposal. The recent release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and subsequent public comment period has generated additional opposition and even more acute concerns have been added to this discussion.

Many residents whom I represent feel that the Port Ambrose proposal will pose a significant threat to the sustainability and safety of this ocean beach community and the fragile ecological environments that exist in the waters off the south shore of Long Island. In addition, the many security-related risks that have been raised continue to be a serious concern of mine. While the need for increased energy sources are critical to the continued success of our state and local economies, the negative impact of the Port Ambrose LNG proposal on the local community has the very real potentially of outweighing any perceived benefits.

I urge you to take the concerns of the many local elected officials and residents of the barrier island and surrounding communities into consideration while evaluating this proposal. Many legitimate issues have been raised and until such a time comes when they are appropriately addressed, I will be adding my name to the growing list that opposes this project.

Dean G. Skelos
Majority leader
New York State Senate

Firefighters union questions ICMA report

To the Editor:

Since the loss of the Long Beach Medical Center, the city authorized a report to determine how to service the public better without a hospital (“Consultants call for restructuring of LBFD,” Jan. 15-21). The report was to look at the Police Department, Fire Department and lifeguards. Now, nearly a year later, at a cost of $55,000, the report has surfaced.

The report, conducted by the International City/County Management Association Center for Public Safety Management, only addresses the Fire Department and how to attempt to cut costs while trying to maintain the current level of service. The report fails to address all other safety departments and the increased demands placed on agencies with the closure of LBMC, which was the ultimate purpose of the report as stated by the city.

Historically, the ICMA is used by municipalities to create reports used to cut fire department manpower and services. ICMA provides multiple recommendations for each department; time after time, municipalities use recommendations to cut manpower, and never follow through on a majority of other suggestions.

ICMA’s Long Beach report calls for cutting career firefighters, who are all trained in advanced life support, either as critical care emergency medical technicians or EMT/paramedics, from the current level of 29 — three firefighters are in the process of retiring — down to 12, and supplementing the Fire Department by hiring paramedics to work with EMTs. This reduction in service removes cross-trained firefighters who can respond to all emergency incidents and would replace them with a lower level of service that can only fulfill a single role.

ICMA’s recommendations would fall below the current standard of service provided by both fire and EMS in Long Beach. Reduction would leave firefighters with just three members on a fire engine, compared to the current five-member engine company. A three-member engine company is below National Fire Protection Association national standards, and according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology studies, a three-member crew is only 38 percent as effective as a five-member company.

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