New York Should Follow Hawaii's Lead on Environment
by Anthony Stasi
Jun 24, 2015 | 17114 views | 0 0 comments | 939 939 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, Hawaii’s governor signed a major energy bill into law to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Now, with a ramped-up effort to utilize solar, wind, and geothermal energy, legislators claim the state will be strictly on renewable energy by 2045. In New York, we have taken strong looks at biodiesel as an alternative.

New York’s approach to using biodiesel is to encourage people and building owners to switch to a B20 (20 percent biodiesel) blend in oil-base hearing systems. Private homeowners would be hard pressed to shell out for solar panels - and there’s the ugliness of the panels which is a factor if we’re talking about private homes - but there is no reason for commercial buildings not to use them.

Wind energy is tricky because it’s a hard energy source to transport, but it’s a good idea where you can actually get it. Geothermal energy on the east coast is not as easy to attain as it is on the west coast, and it comes with some risks as well.

Any good energy policy has to come with a number of steps, not just one. For this reason, natural gas should not be left out of the equation. The problem is that drilling for it is not regulated to a point where it is safe. That is not a reason to abandon the idea of extracting natural gas from the earth if we can somehow get to it without endangering the water supply.

Hawaii took a big step in recognizing this is a problem. Encouraging residents through tax incentives to move to cleaner energy use is a good east coast approach.

Brian Williams Saved By Cultural Change

Remember when Dan Rather was jettisoned from CBS News after getting his facts tangled up about President George W. Bush’s National Guard service? That’s all it took (that, and a history of weirdness) to have the guy who replaced Walter Cronkite off the air.

But the Brian Williams situation is different; at least it is to NBC. Williams was a likable figure. He was good for the late-night talk show circuit. He was a good face for modern television news.

NBC has agreed, after Williams’ falsified claims about war reporting, to bring him back. He is no longer the nightly news anchor, but he is still back with NBC. The problem is that Williams said things that were not true, and he knew it.

Dan Rather took the wrong information from a blogger which, in his defense, he probably was not sure what a blogger was at the time. NBC did not have to take Williams back, as they have a stable of talent from which to choose.

They demoted Williams from nightly news anchor to reporting breaking stories and doing specials. In 1993, when I was an intern at NBC News, a bump down like this would have been a giant slight to a news anchor. If NBC had demoted Tom Brokaw from anchor to roving journo, it would have been a national story.

Today’s news, however, is different. People get to it on their own time. They no longer sit in front of a television at 6:30 p.m. and wait to get their news from a person they trust. They now get their news from their phone or Twitter, and it comes at all times of the day.

This means that Brian Williams being replaced by Lester Holt at 6:30 p.m. is only really important to the people who work in news. The viewing public, especially that all-important 18 to 35 year old demographic, could not care less. Therefore, this is not a demotion for Brian Williams.

The role of news anchor is just not the mega-impact job that it once was, so NBC can welcome back its prodigal son and it will likely blow over in due time. Dan Rather, however, made his mistake at the wrong time.
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