Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York While the nations of the world heard President Obama take the pledge in Paris this week that the United States would do more to combat climate change, the House of Representatives passed two measures apparently aimed at undercutting him.Here on Long Island, which is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels from global warming, the votes are split along party lines on these resolutions, which would weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions from existing and future coal-fired power plants.Freshman Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) says he supported the two joint resolutions—already approved by the Republican-controlled Senate—because the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Rule” could significantly raise electricity bills on Long Island.“Some forecasts see potential costs as high as $366 billion to $479 billion over the period 2017-2031,” he told the Press in an email. “While I support clean and renewable energy on Long Island, I am opposed to unfunded EPA mandates that ignore the role of Congress and the Constitution. Any deal negotiated in Paris must be presented to the Senate in the manner proscribed by the U.S. Constitution. The President has no authorization from Congress to commit any U.S. taxpayer money to other nations or to agree to any unconstitutional regulations that would infringe on our nation’s sovereignty.”As a longtime elected official from eastern Suffolk, Zeldin says he’s always been a staunch supporter of clean energy and protecting Long Island’s environment. But he found fault with the Obama administration on this important issue.“While protecting the environment is one of my priorities, hearing our president compare the threat of climate change to that of ISIS, or hearing Secretary of State John Kerry call climate change ‘the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction,’ shows how completely out of touch this administration is on foreign policy, especially in light of the recent terror attacks in Paris.”Also serving her first term in Congress, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) vehemently disagreed. She saw the resolutions as the latest attempts to prevent the EPA from doing its job, as well as undermining President Obama as he pursues an international climate treaty in Paris. And, just as clearly, she agreed with the Secretary of State’s assessment of the issue.“Climate change is not only a threat to the environment and public health–it’s a threat to our national security,” said Rice in an email. “It’s a threat to our energy grid and to our troops on the ground all over the world who are forced to spend massive amounts of time transporting, retrieving, storing and protecting fossil fuels. While politicians and special interests debate whether or not climate change is real, our military leaders are taking action and leading the effort to diversify our energy grid, develop alternative energy sources, and reduce fossil fuel dependency.”An aerial view of the City of Long Beach after Superstorm Sandy. (Kevin Kane/Long Island Press)She outlined the perils of doing nothing to reduce heat-trapping carbon in the atmosphere, one of the leading causes of global warming, because “those of us on Long Island have a tremendous amount to lose as sea levels will continue to rise and extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy will become more frequent and more intense.”Rice stressed the importance of investing in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power to create good jobs and economic opportunities here. “We have to capitalize on our potential to be a leader in the transition to a cleaner, greener economy,” she said.Rice’s assessment that climate change is a national security issue echoes a 2014 report published by a military advisory board consisting of retired generals and other military officials, including former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. “During our decades of experience in the U.S. military, we have addressed many national security challenges, from containment and deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War to political extremism and transnational terrorism in recent years,” the panel wrote in the report titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.” “The national security risks of projected climate change are as serious as any challenges we have faced.”Long Island’s longest-serving congressman, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), never responded to explain his votes or his views on climate change, despite repeated attempts to reach him, as of press time. Long Island’s senior Democratic Congressman, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) agreed with his party’s colleague from Nassau.“We have a moral responsibility to take action to protect families and communities from the negative impacts of climate damage,” said Rep. Israel in an email. “These dangerous Republican resolutions prevent our country from taking practical steps to curb carbon pollution and keep the air we breathe clean. We all know the effects that dirtier air and water will have on future generations and coastal communities like Long Island.”Adding urgency to the climate change debate is the potential devastation to our region, considering that a large section of New York City and the South Shore of Long Island lies less than 10 feet above sea level now, and that puts hundreds of thousands of people at risk during major storm events, whether from excessive rainfall or hurricanes. Based on some current projections, the average sea level could rise 8 inches by 2020 and by almost two feet by 2050.Environmentalists railed against the House votes, calling “these attempted giveaways for industry…extreme legislation that no New York member of Congress can justify supporting” because it would block climate action and clean air protections, according to Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of watchdog group Environmental Advocates of New York.By supporting the bills, Iwanowicz said in an email, Reps. Zeldin and King “are placing the interests of western polluters over our public health here at home.”While world leaders are convening in Paris “to plan global climate action,” Iwanowicz added, the goal of the House of Representatives is “to thwart progress.”“Climate change has taken an enormous human and economic toll that is only expected to get worse in the years ahead,” he said. “New York is already ahead of schedule on meeting standards required under the Clean Power Plan thanks to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). There is no justification for any New York member of Congress to support this effort.”
Following the massive success of Citi FM‘s last Premier League Roadshow at the Swiss Spirit Hotel & Suites Alisa – Accra, in which Liverpool took a crucial step towards a first-ever Premier League title against Manchester City, the station returned to The Cellar on Saturday.This time a London derby headlined the event. While London derbies are usually very exciting affairs, Saturday’s clash between Chelsea and Tottenham had more riding on it than just three points.With fourth place still up for grabs and a feisty encounter at the Tottenham Stadium behind them, this match was built up with the fervour of a final.And inside the Cellar, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.Christopher Nimley and Fentuo TahiruAs fans of the two clubs (as well as supporters of clubs who were not in action) gave their impressions ahead of kick-off, with a few Chelsea fans giving more hopeful predictions than they sounded, the importance of the game was laid bare for everyone to see.The main talking points from the lineups were the starts handed to Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso on Chelsea’s side, while Dele Alli dropping to Tottenham’s bench raised more than a few eyebrows.All that was forgotten when the match kicked off with both sides launching dangerous attacks while the crowd at Alisa cheered or groaned, depending on how well their team was faring.Mason Mount’s saved shot for Chelsea elicited some applause from the Blues fans at the Cellar while an effort from Lucas Moura which was saved by Willy Caballero drew same from Spurs supporters.It was clear after Marcos Alonso fired just over the bar, which side looked likelier to score and they promptly did.A great ball forward by Jorginho found Giroud who held off his marker and saw his initial shot saved by Hugo Lloris.Barkley’s follow-up hit the post before Giroud fired his next shot into the back of the net.The goal sparked loud cheers from the Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge and at The Cellar as well which turned to worried murmurs as the goal was reviewed by VAR for a possible offside.The cheers returned once the checks were done at the Bridge, the Blues were ahead. Giroud’s utter relief was mirrored at the Alisa Hotel.The Cellar was now buzzing as Spurs searched for an equaliser and Chelsea chased a second.However, despite a few half-chances, Chelsea went into the break up by a goal.Back at the cellar, both sets of fans shared their opinions about the first half. The Blues fans were obviously happier given their lead but they expected their team to play much better.It didn’t take long for the volume in The Cellar to rise again as a lovely flowing move from Chelsea ended with Alonso firing into the bottom corner of the net.With Spurs desperate to get back into the game, some nasty tackles flew in, most notably from Lo Celso who was lucky to remain on the pitch after a particularly bad stamp on the leg of Azpilicueta.A VAR check later, it was still 11 v 11, a decision most fans at The Cellar clearly were unhappy with.The rest of the second half flew by with both sides desperate to find the next goal.Despite a nervy last few minutes for Chelsea after Rudiger deflected a ball past his own keeper, the Blues held on for the three points.In the end it was the Blue half of the Cellar that went home happy safe in the knowledge that their side had cemented their place in the top four.
Holmes was tipped to be the man to replace Ben Barba following the premiership-winner’s defection to French rugby, but a hamstring injury picked up in the trials has scuttled those plans for the time being. The Queensland hopeful didn’t play in his side’s season-opening loss to the Broncos last week, with Sharks coach Shane Flanagan cautious about rushing him back too soon. “He’d be very close, very close to playing,” Flanagan said on Thursday night after the loss. “The only concern that we have is the high-speed running that Val does. We’ll be pushing him as far as we can, but it’s a long season and I want to make sure he’s 100 per cent right rather than 95. “I’d be shooting myself if he came back and injured himself and was out for a long period of time. It’s one of those things where we want to get it right, but if he’s not 100 per cent then we won’t play him.”With Holmes out injured, Gerard Beale made the most of his opportunity in the No.1 jersey, scoring a try and setting another one up against the side he debuted with back in 2009.It was the first time Beale had played fullback for the Sharks, and the first time he’d filled the role at club level since Round 26, 2014. Having played centre, wing and off the bench in 2016, the Kiwis international relished the chance to reacquaint himself with the more hands-on role, but was circumspect when asked if he wanted the jersey on a permanent basis. “I haven’t thought too far ahead. My main focus is concentrating on the now and what I can control,” he said. “I’m playing fullback now and I want to make the most of it. I enjoy the position, but in saying that, we’ve got a lot of depth at the club. Quite a few players could easily play fullback.”Rather than view him as competition, Beale said he was excited to see Holmes back on the training paddock, but he couldn’t shed any light as to when the speedster might make his return. “It was good to see him out there today,” Beale said. “I know he’s itching to play, that’s for sure, but I’m not sure where he stands or how far away he is. He was running around and enjoying himself which was good to see.”