RENewsletter | November 14, 2010

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

[11/07/2010 – 11/14/2010]

 

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Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan

 

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |

 

 

[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]

 

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Opening Salvo:  “High speed trains through Rochester’s environment”

 

Last evening’s (November 11, 2010) meeting on High Speed Raid at Monroe County College was heavily packed with interested Rochesterians.  Lots of people wanted to learn about the latest efforts to place a high speed rail system from Niagara Falls, through Buffalo, then Rochester, Albany, and finally to New York City. 

 

There’s a lot of information on this project to absorb.  I thought 110 miles per hour would be the limit for high speed trains in our area.  But one of the scenarios at the presentation by the NYS Dept. of Transportation was for trains that could reach 150 mph.  That is fast but it’s no Chinese bullet train:

 

China launched new bullet trains that broke world speed records with speeds of up to 260 MPH” Chinese Bullet Trains Break Records - CBS News Video

 

Speed matters with this type of transportation because this kind of endeavor requires better tracks and fewer stops to be efficient.  However, whether New York State’s high speed rail can rival the European or Asian systems is not really the point of the project.  The point is what it will do for our economy, our environment, our jobs, and our transportation.

 

Some local news on this issue:

 

High Speed Rail Project - What's the Deal? Rochester, N.Y. - Residents walked slowly around the room, looking at graphs and maps as they gathered information about the proposed high speed rail project in Western New York. The New York State Department of Transportation held a public meeting at Monroe Community College Wednesday night. Officials were looking for suggestions from residents as they prepare an environmental impact statement.  13WHAM

 

Meeting fosters discussion about high-speed rail | democratandchronicle.com | Democrat and Chronicle On Monday evening, state Department of Transportationofficials endured an angry tongue-lashing at a public meeting over Route 590 lane changes in Irondequoit. On Wednesday evening, some of the same DOT officials appeared at a very different public meeting, one where citizens and state officials stood in small groups chatting quietly, like a cocktail party without the alcohol. The subject wasn't roads but rail — the state's latest effort to bring 110-mph passenger service to New York, where aging trains now max out at 79 mph but average barely 50 and often show up late.  (November 11, 2010) Democratandchronicle.com

 

From an environmental perspective, a high speed rail system could get people to consider other modes of travel to get around our state besides gas-guzzling, greenhouse-gas emitting vehicles.  It will take some doing because automobiles use so outweighs other ways to cross the state—airplane, trains, and boats—as to make one wonder why try at all.  But try we must because the tax burden of maintaining our highway and road infrastructure is costing us too much.  And the environmental effects of millions of cars blasting down our highways are taking their toll.

 

Greenhouse gases from vehicles are warming up the planet. Also:

 

“In many urban areas, motor vehicles are the single largest contributor to ground-level ozone, a major component of smog. Ozone causes public health problems such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and can bring on permanent lung damage. Cars also emit several pollutants classified as air toxics, which also impact health. Vehicles generate three major pollutants - hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. Hydrocarbons react with nitrogen oxides in sunlight and warm weather to form ground-level ozone. Nitrogen oxides help form acid rain. Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, deadly gas can impair mental functions and visual perception, as well as kill.” Vehicle Pollution Fact Sheet - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

 

 

Public transportation in the form of high speed rail across the state could accommodate a lot of travelers and result in a lot less accidents and less stress.  Why take your expensive car when you can hop on a high speed train and get where you want to go a lot quicker and cheaper?  We used to have an extensive train system in our country, in our state, but we relinquished it (mostly) and supplanted it with automobile transportation. That might have been the wrong direction, as a train’s infrastructure is cheaper for the government to maintain than a zillion roads and bridges and have a far less impact on our environment. 

 

We are now in a crowded, polluted, and warming planet where these environmental factors are not merely interesting fun facts—they are critical.  If we don’t make wholesale changes now in how we affect our environment with issues like travel, our future choices are going to be fewer. 

 

To find out more about this project go to:

 

Empire Corridor Rail System "High speed passenger rail is the future of transportation in our State and nation. The High Speed Rail Empire Corridor Project is good for New York because it will bring jobs to our State, help protect our environment and stimulate economic growth by attracting business and travel to major cities connected on the system. The first step in moving forward with our vision for high speed rail in New York State is to conduct a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to examine the options for introducing passenger train speeds of at least 110 mph between Schenectady and Niagara Falls. “- from NYSDOT Home

 

High Speed Rail has a lot to be considered--like, how will high speed rail get funded.  Take a moment and chime in with your comments, which will help shape this project, by emailing the DOT: empirecorridor@dot.state.ny.us

 

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

 

 

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UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]

 

 

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EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line.

 

 

December 2010

 

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ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 

 

 

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AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]

 

 

Frank J. Regan (FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com) or (FrankRegan@Frontiernet.net ) - Please visit: http://RochesterEnvironment.com: Where you can get all the environmental news, events, documents, and services on the Internet for Rochester, New York.

RochesterEnvironment.com is the most complete, non-profit environmental site for any one city in the world. You can also subscribe to RochesterEnvironment.Com. Once a month, get RochesterEnvironment.com's "RENewsletter in your mail" - http://rochesterenvironment.com/subscribe.htm. Or, join in discussion on Rochester environmental matters at Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY - http://rochesterenvironmentny.blogspot.com/