July 8, 2002
To the Editor,
While it is clear where Eric Simundza stands, based on his recent essay in the Brooklyn Rail (Early Summer issues), on the power plants proposed for Greenpoint-Williamsburg, I’m willing to bet the first people to complain the government didn’t adequately prepare when we have rolling blackouts and brownouts are the same people lining up against the plant. It maybe political correct to hold concerts against power plants and shout down Con Ed representatives, but which is more important—people’s needs or their wants?
Parks are great fun but shouldn’t we have a proper infrastructure, including electricity, in place for the increasing number of residents? It seems that the people who don’t want the power plants “in my backyard” are the same people consuming the megawatts of power to run their air conditioners and computers, which account for the majority of the power needed. The longtime residents of this area are not the ones using the bulk of projected power increases.
The question I’m asking Mr. Simunda is whether it is the government’s duty to create park space where people want it, based on their desire for park with a waterfront view; and if so, then where exactly should the electrical generators for this area be located?
New York certainly needs power plants, yet there is no good reason why they all should be concentrated in a few lower-income communities. As it stands, many areas of Manhattan depend on electricity generated in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. There needs to be legislation ensuring that future power plant placements will distribute this burden more equitably.