Brianna GunterStory by
About this sponsorship: In honor of the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent of Mount Everest, Patch and Grape-Nuts are teaming up to highlight those who inspire people around them to climb their own mountains.
Claudia Borecky has done a lot for the town of Hempstead and the Long Island community in general. Most recently, Borecky spoke out against Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano's plan to privatize the sewage system. In 2011, she ran for a spot on the Hempstead Town Council (she is an active Democrat). Back in 2009, she led a task force to investigate the sudden installation of cell phone antennas around Merrick, which eventually resulted in a new town code to control future placement of such antennas.
But as president of the North and Central Merrick Civic Association, such actions often come with the job. Borecky works nonstop to tackle anything that she feels would be detrimental to her community, and she doesn't give up easily.
Borecky took some time away from her busy schedule to talk about her work:
1. What is the biggest challenge you've ever taken on?
There have been several major challenges that faced our communities that when I first addressed them, looked hopelessly impossible to conquer. One is stopping an energy giant from building a 60 acre island 14 miles off the shore of Long Beach for the purpose of importing liquefied natural gas.
We get 97 percent of our natural gas domestically, and our gas is drastically cheaper here than anywhere else in the world. So I questioned this corporate giant’s motive for building an island to import natural gas from foreign countries such as Iran. It worried me that foreign tankers would be pulling up to our shores from countries with terrorist ties. It worried me that they were building a terrorist target right off our shores. And it bothered me that this island would stand in the way of many marine species’ migration path. I worried what effect the process of liquefying natural gas would have on the carbon footprint of our planet. And, of course, I worried about what would happen if a hurricane hit it.
2. How did you plan to achieve this goal?
I spearheaded Legislator Dave Denenberg’s Taskforce, which led the opposition on Long Island; met with environmental groups, both in New York City and New Jersey; developed a power point and spoke of its dangers all over Long Island. Our goal was to convince Governors Christie and Patterson to reject their application. We met with the state energy secretary and discussed the governor’s energy plan for New York State. We met with concerned citizens all over Long Island, New York City and New Jersey; rallied, wrote letters, got petition signatures and built a movement against the proposed island.
3. Did you succeed?
At the height of the movement, we feared we would never win because they had already spent millions of dollars on an environmental impact study and paid lobbyists with political connections in high places to push this project through. But, in the end, they withdrew their application because of “local opposition.” As it turned out, the real intention was to export our domestic natural gas because it is cheaper here. It would have depleted our resources. And had they been successful, Hurricane Sandy would have caused a catastrophe of epic proportions, which is certainly something that Long Beach didn’t need.