Listening to the local radio station for the 7:30 news yesterday morning, they were talking about the new pot hole machines that the city of Niagara Falls will be renting to fix the massive pot hole problem plaguing the city. This will bring much needed relief to drivers and vehicles in the city. Although I live in Lockport, I was in Niagara Falls for a jaunt to the casino this past weekend. I can attest to the fact that there is a serious need for road repairs, not only in Niagara Falls, but in much of Western New York.
During the news, the radio station interviewed Lou Ricciuti, also known as "Nuclear Lou". Now, I don't know Lou, but I know he is well known in the community for his environmental advocacy. Ricciuti has previously raised concerns about radioactive contamination in the Niagara area and has created the Institute for Environmental Research and Oversight.
Ricciuti went on to say that filling the pot holes would be a bad idea because doing so would allow contaminates in the road to become airborne and be hazardous to the well-being of people in the community. Okay, I'll buy that. Knowing virtually nothing about environmental issues such as this one, it certainly sounds possible.
Here's where things get a little cloudy. When someone points out a problem, I expect a tangible, feasible solution to be presented. Unfortunately, this is where Lou lost me. His solution to the pot hole problem is not to patch them, but to take an alternate route. His rationale is that it's better to have some temporary damage to your car's suspension than to have permanent damage to your respiratory system due to the contaminates that you'd be breathing from the dust that would be stirred up by the pot hole machines.
Fundamentally, of course I'd rather have a minor alignment problem than a black lung, but it's a flawed solution. Cities need to fill pot holes. Cities need to maintain their infrastructure. To slough off a major infrastructure problem by simply suggesting people take another route is not a tangible solution. If there is an environmental concern, address it with a realistic solution, not "avoid the area". The solution of simply taking another route is simply ridiculous and unrealistic.
Unfortunately, this is where many environmentalists lose their credibility. It's easy to say that there are issues that need to be addressed, it's hard to come up with real solutions.
By the way, there are billions of gallons of oil reserves in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and a shale formation stretching North Dakota and Montana may have an estimated 3 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to a U.S. Geological Survey assessment. Of course, we can't tap them because we may disturb the mating habits of the Common Tern.