I applaud the commitment made by Supervisor Venditto and the Town of Oyster Bay Council in their signing of the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, and their promise to “reduce greenhouse emissions in the Town to seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012.” However, your lead article in the August 22, 2007 (“Town of Oyster Bay first to Go Green in Nassau”) is just another example of this current administration’s penchant for shameless self-promotion and half-truths.
According to the Town of Oyster Bay website, the Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management “oversees all phases of emergency management for the Town, including preparedness and response for hurricanes, hazardous materials incidents and all other natural or manmade disasters that may affect the Town”, while the Division of Security is “responsible for the enforcement of parking regulations and removal of abandoned vehicles on public streets, parking lots, railroad stations, Town parks and beaches, and other sites regulated by the parking provisions of the Uniform Traffic Code of the Town of Oyster Bay. The division also furnishes, coordinates and maintains security services for all Town-owned real and personal property, as well as railroad stations and surrounding parking facilities located within the Town, as well as other duties as may be deemed necessary to provide for the enforcement and general security of the Town government in the conduct of Town business.” Considering the Town of Oyster Bay stretches from “the Atlantic Ocean on the south, to the Long Island Sound on the north”, and the large scope of duties and miles that the Department of Public Safety has to cover, the Town’s acquisition of a large fleet of SUV’s is about as irrational a decision environmentally conscious public servants can make.
The white Jeep Libertys can regularly be seen driving all around the Town of Oyster Bay, and also fueling up at Town Hall South on Hicksville Road in Massapequa. The EPA has estimated that a Jeep Liberty 4x4 with a 3.7 liter V-6 engine will obtain a measly 15 miles per gallon. Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change. Naturally, cars that attain better gas mileage emit less greenhouse gasses.
There were many alternative “green” vehicles the Town could have opted for in similar price ranges to the Jeep Liberty. While it is unclear to me why the Public Safety Department requires the inefficient SUV’s to perform the range of duties their job entails, the Ford Motor Company manufactures a hybrid SUV (the Escape). Around town, the hybrid Ford Escape gets 28 miles per gallon. Moreover the hybrid Ford Escape is an entirely more environmentally friendly vehicle, as it causes significantly less greenhouse gas emissions and creates far less emissions that lead to air pollution that is harmful to human health and a contributor to smog.
If Supervisor Venditto and his fellow Town Board members were truly reinforcing their “commitment to continue to meet the challenge of reducing global warming head-on”, they would certainly have had more vision, foresight, and common sense than to acquire a large fleet of eco-unfriendly SUV’s for the Town’s Public Safety Department.
Mahatma Gandhi once stated that “you must be the change you wish to see in the world."
If Mr. Venditto is the “trailblazer” he claims to be, he will trade in his gas-guzzling Crown Victoria for a Toyota Prius; thus “preserving the quality of life” for this generation, and the generations to come.
Keith Scalia, D-WF
2007 Candidate for Town of Oyster Bay Council"