The Brazilian Air Force gave the Hermes RQ-450 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) its operational debut during Operation Agatha, conducted in Amazonas to curb illegal activities along the border between Brazil and Colombia. The new UAV, operated jointly with A-29 Super Tucano fighters and E-99 planes, assisted in locating and destroying clandestine landing strips, which is precisely one of the RQ-450’s functions. In only a few hours of flying time, the Hermes gathered all the information needed for the attack mission. “We were able to find out a number of details about the objective, and we could even make sure that there were no people at the location and so ensure safety and security when dropping the bombs,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Richard Laux, the commander of the 1st/12th GAV-Horus Squadron, the first Brazilian military unit to make operational use of the RQ-450. During Operation Agatha, the Horus Squadron was based at an airstrip hidden in the jungle. From there, the RQ-450 operated over a wide area of the region. With an autonomous flight time of up to 16 hours, the aircraft, only six meters in length, conducts reconnaissance, surveillance, search, and intelligence missions. All the information is transmitted in real time to the command centers in Manaus and Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. One of the chief advantages of using an aircraft operated by remote control is that it enables missions of a number of hours, with the rotation of the crews working at the ground station. In addition to avoiding fatigue, the military personnel remain far away from any threats that might exist, such as hostile fire. The RQ-450 is also silent and difficult to locate, and if necessary, both the aircraft and its support structure can be quickly and easily transported to another location. By Dialogo August 26, 2011
By Dialogo October 02, 2012 GUATEMALA CITY – The Guatemalan Army Special Brigade for Forest Operations’ (BEOS) goal is clear: stop narco-trafficking in the country’s northeast, specifically in the department of Petén, which borders Mexico. The BEOS, which has a force of 600, is patrolling the area’s dense forests and numerous rivers and lakes with the Special Group for Interdiction and Rescue (GEIR) and Special Naval Forces unit, said Army spokesman Erick Escobedo. The deployment of troops was necessary because Petén has emerged as a major transshipment point for weapons and narcotics en route to Mexico and the United States, according to Minister of the Interior Mauricio López Bonilla. “The brigade coordinates mobilizations, especially for operations to intercept narcotics that are being transported by land or water,” López Bonilla said. But because the Army is prohibited from functioning as the police by law, its troops always are accompanied by the National Civilian Police and Public Ministry agents, who take suspects into custody while the military provides protection and support. “We want there to be integration among all of the forces,” López Bonilla said. The security forces have seized of 3,184.2 kilograms (7,020 pounds) of cocaine from January to Sept. 1 nationwide, compared to 4,199 kilograms (9,257 pounds) confiscated all of last year. But the security forces’ success doesn’t stop there. Since Guatemala’s profile as a narcotics-producing country has risen, so has the amount of precursors entering the nation. Counter-narcotics agents seized 13,763 barrels of precursor chemicals from January to Aug. 15 of this year, 34% more than the 10,197 barrels seized all of last year, according to the government. Helen Mack, director of the Myrna Mack Foundation, an organization that specializes in security analyses for Guatemala, said the degree of pressure the government is applying to narco-traffickers and organized groups is unprecedented in the country’s history. “Guatemala has a very vulnerable border in Petén, where many narcotics are smuggled out of the country,” she said. “With neither the adequate equipment nor personnel, the police couldn’t fight organized crime all by itself.” López Bonilla added six helicopters are being used in counter-narcotics operations in Petén, as well as along the border with Honduras and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The government also has targeted fishing vessels involved in narco-trafficking, as it is common for boats to pick up shipments from South America. Once the boat arrives at port, the narcotics are packed into cars with hidden compartments and are transported north – through Petén – to Mexico and the United States, López Bonilla said. On the Pacific Coast, Guatemala is being supported by 200 U.S. Marines, who recently arrived in Guatemala as part of Operation Martillo, an international mission that gathers Western Hemisphere and European nations in an effort to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. Traffickers also are using airplanes to drop packages of drugs on Guatemalan territory close to the border with Honduras. The elite brigade has destroyed 45 clandestine landing strips in Petén. The BEOS also helps the National Council on Protected Areas (CONAP) with the preservation of the Mayan biosphere, and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to protect flora and fauna in the country’s northern region. “The biggest problem for biodiversity is the illegal extraction of wood,” said Mario Ávila, head of the National Civilian Police Division for the Protection of Nature (Diprona). Drug traffickers in particular clear vegetation to open space in the rainforest for their clandestine landing strips for planes carrying narcotics, officials said. In the 830,000-acre Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre (Tiger Lagoon Park), in Petén, officials found 50 clandestine landing strips for small aircraft and three more in the Sierra del Lacandón, also located in Petén, last year. In Petén, community leaders, reportedly paid off by the drug cartels, encourage farmers to prune or burn down large portions of forest to create landing strips. Article talks about MEX-GTM border in Guatemala’s Peten Department (further north, kind of looks like Minnesota on a map)
By Dialogo November 14, 2012 Peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government that will start in Havana, Cuba, on November 19 poses a challenge for the guerrillas to diversify into a legal political movement and the authorities to guarantee security, respectively. The FARC, last long-living active guerrillas in Latin America, currently has 9,000 fighters that might be reinstated into civil life and yet somehow be held accountable for their actions against thousands of victims during the armed conflict of almost 50 years. Analysts considered that prior experiences in peace negotiations with Colombian guerrillas, who generally benefited from amnesties, will not contribute significantly as a point of reference in this instance. “There are no plans of granting absolute amnesty. We might consider a pardon to the troops, but higher and middle commands will have to face trials and penalties. This does not mean they are not able to benefit from sentence suspensions or reductions,” said Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group Institute director for Latin America and the Caribbean to the press. In view of this situation, President Juan Manuel Santos’ government was able to pass the “legal framework for peace” this year in Congress. It consists of a mechanism which considers sentence suspension and other legal benefits to disarmed guerrillas, but which must be regulated. However, the sentences already passed on to FARC commanders in absentia, prohibit their political participation for life, recalled Ciurlizza, explaining that government must be able to find a way “to create some kind of political voice in politics.” The creation of a party entails several difficulties for the FARC. Ciurlizza highlights that one of the guerrilla’s difficulties is their lack of a clear political program, as well as reaching a certain number of supporters and voting percentage requirements. In case legal requirements are met and the FARC guarantees sufficient participation, the guerrillas and the government will have to deal with public opinion as well, after the peace process that has categorically excluded civil society, stated María Victoria Llorente, from independent Colombian think tank Ideas for Peace Foundation. Most Colombian citizens “understand this peace process as a political negotiation, although they do not agree to grant political participation to guerrillas, and they demand no impunity for them,” said Llorente.
By Geraldine Cook/Diálogo January 12, 2017 Providing air support during security actions is Captain Juan Luis Vargas Castillo’s primary responsibility – but not his only responsibility. As Director of Air Surveillance Service of the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security, he leads an office charged with protecting the country’s air, sea, and land territory in support of the police corps, as well as assisting in humanitarian missions. Capt.Vargas entered the Air Surveillance Service in 1992 and since then has held several important positions within the institutional structure. In January he assumed leadership of the Air Surveillance Service, which incorporates the departments of aircraft operations, aircraft maintenance, and airport security. Capt.Vargas talked with Diálogo during the Central American Air Chiefs Conference held December 12th-13th 2016 in Tucson, Arizona, where he expressed the importance of his country becoming a strategic partner for other Latin American countries, especially in the fight against transnational organized crime. In his opinion, the Republic of Costa Rica has been preparing to face the new security challenges confronting the Western Hemisphere.Diálogo: What is the importance of Costa Rica’s presence at the 2017 Central American Air Chiefs Conference? Captain Juan Luis Vargas Castillo: The importance of Costa Rica being at this conference is that we are already being seen as strategic partners in the fight against organized crime at the international level. For us, our participation in this conference is important so that we can start to share sensitive information with the rest of the region.It is also important to me because we are getting to know the chiefs of the air forces, to see each other face-to-face, because sometimes making a telephone call and introducing yourself without really knowing who this person is that you are talking to is not the same, so after meeting face to face, it is much easier to make the phone call.Costa Rica’s number one priority is to become a strategic partner in the region in the fight against organized crime. It is important for the region to know that we are also participating, and that it is one of the priorities of our new mission. It is also extremely important to be able to share information with other air forces. Costa Rica does not have an army, and the closest thing to that institution is the police, which performs airspace defense and civilian security functions.It is an interesting and complex combination, and we are used to exercising these functions. Diálogo: What are the most important security issues Costa Rica faces? Capt. Vargas: Without a doubt, our priority is the fight against organized crime and the criminal acts accompanying it. We are talking about drug trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal migration, a phenomenon that was not witnessed in the region before –and even less so in Costa Rica.We have had this problem for the past few months, as we have received a large number of transnational migrants every week who are headed north. Before, there were Cuban migrants; now we have transcontinental migrants.We have found people from Africa and the Middle East who arrive in South American countries in search of the American dream, and they start their land journey to the United States. These migrants stay in Costa Rica because the northern borders are being closed to them. Fortunately, we have begun to have a lot of experience with this issue, and we have been able to lower the incidence of [illegal] migration fairly well. Our other concern is prevention, since it is sometimes much more economical to prevent than to punish. Everyone at the Public Security Ministry is committed to that.Diálogo: With Costa Rica’s experience in the fight against transnational crime, for example, what type of regional cooperation are you implementing among yourselves to help resolve transnational issues? Capt. Vargas: We have the Bilateral Joint Patrol Treaty with the United States, which was signed in 1999. We have had great success with that. We are having our first meetings with Colombia to create some type of bilateral agreement, and we are moving forward with our final conversations with Panama to be able to sign a bilateral agreement to strengthen our borders and our air and maritime space.Diálogo: What has Costa Rica’s experience been as an observer member of the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA, per its Spanish acronym)? Capt. Vargas: We have been observers of SICOFAA for many years. Currently, we are working to look at the possibility of becoming a member again. Diálogo: What is your main goal as head of Costa Rica’s Air Surveillance Service? Capt. Vargas: We have many goals. To be brought up to date on different regional and global issues, such as [illegal] transnational migration, for example. We have to adapt and begin working on new challenges.I want our office to be a leader in information management and to start to become a support system to other countries in the region. We want the region to see us for what we are, strategic partners in the fight against organized crime, since the whole region has the same problem, and we are all fighting in different areas. However, the objective is to fight together to make criminal activity more complicated for the enemy — what we might call transnational organized crime — and combat it as a single region and not separately.Diálogo: Would you like to add any other comments or an invitation to your partner nations? Capt. Vargas: We thank you for having had Costa Rica in mind in this new process. I hope this is the first of many conferences, many missions, and that we start to get to know each other face-to-face to create new bonds that will strengthen what we already have and to work together for regional security.
By Taciana Moury/Diálogo July 13, 2017 The Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB, per its Portuguese acronym) C-105 Amazonas, H-60 Black Hawk, and A-29 Super Tucano aircraft could be deployed on United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions. UN representatives were in Brazil to visit FAB air units, where they ascertained readiness of the available assets and elevated the country to level two on the United Nations Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (UNPCRS). However, in order to effectively begin operations, it must reach level four, which could happen before the end of 2017. “When we receive a UN invitation to take part in a certain mission, and when we begin drawing up relevant agreements, we will be elevated to level three,” said Air Force Colonel Gerson Cavalcanti de Oliveira, the head of the International Cooperation Systems Section of the FAB Joint Staff. He said that the UN is expected to extend the invitation sometime in the second half of this year. “Only after the agreements are signed will the country be elevated to level four, and then it will have 90 days to deploy its assets on the assigned mission,” said Col. Cavalcanti. However, there is a long way to go before air assets can be effectively deployed. “After the visit, the UN submits a request to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations (MRE, per its Portuguese acronym) for the use of Brazilian air assets on a certain mission. MRE analyzes the request and, if it agrees, it informally consults with the Brazilian Ministry of Defense (MD, per its Portuguese acronym) in order to analyze the operational feasibility of the mission,” he added. Col. Cavalcanti also explained that after the consultation, MD submits a request to FAB to evaluate the mission and issue an opinion to MRE, which would include the costs of deployment. MRE, in turn, will ask the Brazilian Ministry of Planning and Lower House of Representatives whether the necessary funding exists. If approved, MRE will then formally reply to the UN request. After voting and approval by the Lower House, the formal documentation is submitted for the president’s approval. “If the process goes smoothly, the plan is for these aircraft to be deployed in the second half of 2018,” he said. Air units visited Three air units were inspected: the 7º/8º GAV (H-60L Black Hawk), the 1º/9º GAV (C-105 Amazonas) in Manaus in the state of Amazonas, and the 2º/3º GAV (A-29 Super Tucano) in the city of Porto Velho in the state of Rondônia, both located in the northern region of the country. Personnel from the MD, Joint Peacekeeping Operations Center in Brazil, the Readiness Command, and the Brazilian Air Force Joint Staff also participated in the visits, which were held at the end of April. During the visit, Pakistani Army Colonel Humayun Chohan Zia, the leader of the UN delegation, stated in an interview with the Air Force Agency that it is quite probable that Brazil will deploy its air assets to Africa and other missions. “Brazil has already made a considerable contribution to the United Nations with its support in Haiti (to the MINUSTAH), and it also has had significant individual representations on several missions as staff and observers,” he said. Col. Cavalcanti explained that the air units to be visited were chosen because of the geographical proximity among them, which facilitated the inspection process. “That does not mean that the aircraft to be used will only come from the visited squadrons. Both aircraft and crews may be drawn from any FAB unit that operates those particular pieces of equipment.” Aircraft One of the aircraft models offered by FAB to participate in UN peacekeeping missions is the H-60 Black Hawk, which is used in more than 80 countries worldwide. These aircraft can transport up to 12 people and can get security troops to areas that are otherwise difficult to access. They can carry an external payload of up to four tons and have a complete team and the necessary equipment for aeromedical assistance and evacuations, search-and-rescue missions and, if necessary, even aerial defense. According to FAB, two squadrons operate the aircraft in Brazil. In addition to the Harpia Squadron (7º/8º GAV), the Pantera Squadron (5º/8º GAV), which is based in Santa Maria in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, also deploys the helicopter. This means that a grand total of 16 aircraft with 65 pilots are capable of operating on UN peacekeeping missions. The A-29 aircraft is used on air defense missions by four squadrons: Grifo (2º/3º GAV); Escorpião (1º/3º GAV), located in Boa Vista in the state of Roraima; Flecha (3º/3º GAV), in Campo Grande in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, and Joker (2º/5º GAV), in Natal in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. The tactical and weapons capabilities were some of the advantages of the aircraft presented by FAB during the inspection. “These aircraft could provide the peacekeeping forces with vital information, thus increasing their situational awareness,” Lieutenant Colonel Luiz Ângelo de Andrade, the commanding officer of the Griffin Squadron, said to the Air Force Agency. The C-105 Amazonas, on the other hand, could be deployed for tactical and strategic airlifting, air dropping of paratroopers and payloads, and medical evacuations. They can also perform search and rescue missions, drop vaccines, food, and potable water into hard-to-reach areas, transport the sick and wounded, and provide support during natural disasters. According to FAB, Brazil operates 11 C-105 aircraft, and 51 pilots are trained to fly them. Col. Cavalcanti emphasized the operational gains FAB would obtain by deploying its air assets during UN peacekeeping missions. “Many of the basic aerial roles and missions that FAB is trained for could be executed during peacekeeping missions,” he said, adding that such missions will enable it to increase its logistical and operational capabilities within what is established for strategic FAB operations. “The UN covers the cost of fuel and maintenance for the aircraft and their deployment. Furthermore, peacekeeping missions involve simultaneous operations with several other air forces,” he concluded.
By Yolima Dussán / Diálogo April 20, 2020 The efforts of the Armed Forces of Colombia to address all the emergencies and needs due to the coronavirus crisis have not curbed their drug interdiction operations.“Intelligence operations show that, at this time, while our units are also handling tasks related to COVID-19, there has been an increase in narcotrafficking groups’ attempts to smuggle drugs overseas,” Colombian Navy Rear Admiral Hernando Enrique Mattos Dager, commander of the 72nd Task Force Against Narcotrafficking, told Diálogo. “What they don’t know is that we are right there waiting for them, without letting our guard down.”Colombian Navy units in the Eastern Pacific intercepted nearly 2 tons of drugs, in two operations coordinated by the Armed Forces only three days apart.Rear Adm. Mattos highlighted allied countries’ collaboration under U.S. leadership for the outcome of these operations, which keep up thanks to “constant and daily cooperation from the United States, its technology, aircraft, maritime patrols, and the presence of its ships, which allow for sustainable operations on international waters, when it’s out of our hands.”On April 3, service members of the Buenaventura Coast Guard Station aboard the ARC José María Palas (PM-103) found a shipment of narcotics camouflaged inside a type of fast boat in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca, the Colombian Navy told the press. Service members found 1,318 pounds of marijuana, 613 pounds of cocaine hydrochloride, and 300 gallons of gasoline. The drugs seized were worth more than $12 million, the Navy added.This operation enabled the capture of two Nicaraguan citizens, a Costa Rican, and a Colombian. Port Health authorities examined the detainees for signs of COVID-19 symptoms, said the press release.“On March 31, during another interception, 120 nautical miles off Tumaco Port, Nariño department, the Tumaco Coast Guard crew detained a semisubmersible carrying 1.3 tons of cocaine hydrochloride. The shipment was valued at $37 million. During the operation, authorities captured the crew members: two Colombian nationals and one Ecuadorean, who also received a health examination,” said the Navy.“This is a procedure we integrate into all of our interdiction operations,” Colombian Navy Commander Néstor Ovidio Castellanos, commander of the Pacific Coast Guard, told Diálogo. “We must guarantee the health of the detainees, even more so at this time, when we identify the growing participation of people from different countries of the region.”Rear Adm. Mattos said that “as a result of a U.S.-led project, the Colombian Navy carries out operations so that countries of the region can improve their capabilities in the fight against narcotrafficking. Panama and Costa Rica currently have excellent results. Thanks to Southern Command units, we carry out daily coordinated actions, tightening the siege on illegal transnational groups.”“We must continue our work, with all the comprehensive actions,” said Cmdr. Castellanos. “Crime doesn’t stop; on the contrary, it seizes every opportunity and every circumstance.”“The Colombian Armed Forces’ capabilities continue to fight against narcotrafficking and other crimes; like all the countries of the world, we face a great pandemic, but we continue to do our work,” Rear Adm. Mattos told Diálogo, as he presented a summary of the counternarcotics operations for the first semester of 2020.Drug seizures have exceeded records from previous years. “During the first quarter this year, the Pacific Naval Force intercepted 11 semisubmersibles and seized 46 tons of drugs. So far, service members have seized more than 70 tons of cocaine hydrochloride nationwide. Our people are doing their job to counter the pandemic, without stopping our fight against narcotrafficking,” Rear Adm. Mattos said.
Lawmakers discuss funds for new judges, legal aid Money for legal aid programs may fare better, Smith indicated. In HB 113A, the legislature took over court filing fees, earmarking most of the money for court clerks and taking some to help it fund court operations. The bill removed the counties’ ability to add on to filing fees to fund legal aid, law libraries, and other operations. The bill did, however, mandate that the counties make up for the lost legal aid funding, although it didn’t specify how counties were to do that.Ricco said counties don’t see legal aid as a county responsibility but also his association wants the state to find an alternate revenue stream to replace the lost filing fees.Smith agreed a source needs to be found, and invited counties to help the legislature find “that stream of revenue that you think is fair.” But he added that funding for legal aid will remain in some form.“We’ve got to have legal aid; we have to have it effective,” he said. “From the Senate president on down, my instruction is we’re going to have legal aid that is effective and fair.”According to Kent Spuhler, executive director of Florida Legal Services, Inc., filing fee surcharges raised $7.8 million for 22 legal aid program around the state, and made up as much as 40 to 50 percent of the financing from some of the smaller programs. It was the third largest source of legal aid funding in Florida, behind federal legal aid grant at around $16 million and funding from The Florida Bar Foundation, at around $10 million.Under the law, the counties were required to replace the lost filing fee money beginning July 1, which means appropriations had to be made in their 2003-04 budgets which began last October 1. Spuhler said budgets filed with the state show that funding will be about $1 million short for the three-month period that begins July 1 and marks the start of the state’s 2004-05 fiscal year and the end of the counties’ 2003-04 fiscal year. The January 8 meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on Article V Implementation and Judiciary technically wasn’t about appropriating money for the legal system for the 2004-05 budget year.But in discussing changes to its plan for assuming more trial court funding, senators touched on two subjects of great interest to the legal community: legal aid funding and approving new judges certified by the Supreme Court.Both issues arose as committee members discussed court funding with John Ricco, who represents the Florida Association of Counties.Ricco was discussing the difficulties counties may have in still financing part of the trial court system, even though the state is taking over more of those costs as of July 1. The state is also assuming some of the revenue sources counties use to pay for the courts.Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, noted that the Supreme Court has requested six new circuit and six new county judges for Broward County, following the legislature’s cutting or not funding the court’s request for new judges for the past couple of years.If all dozen slots are approved, he said the county could have trouble finding space to house them all.“Are the counties ready for the new judges?” Campbell asked Ricco.“The counties will do what they have done in the past,” Ricco replied, saying they would find someway to house the new judges. He noted some counties could have problems if all 88 new judges were approved. (That includes 51 new circuit judges, 33 new county judges, and four new district court of appeal judges. The latter would be entirely a state expense.)Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, inquired if that meant the counties were advising the legislature not to fund the requested new judicial positions.“No, we’re not saying that,” Ricco said.But subcommittee Chair Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, who will oversee the preparation of the judicial system budget for the Senate, indicated counties probably won’t have to cope with the complete funding of judicial certification. When Ricco commented that accommodating the large number of new judges could be a problem for counties, Smith noted that, “You won’t have to worry about that.”(In 2000, the Supreme Court asked for 43 new trial judges, and none were approved. In 2001, the court sought 30 new circuit and 14 county judgeships, and got 16 circuit and 11 county seats. In 2002, the Supreme Court requested 49 new judgeships: 34 circuit, 13 county and two district court of appeal. The legislature approved 18 circuits posts. Last year, the court asked for 56 new positions; 33 circuit, 21 county, and two DCA. None were approved.)Legal Aid February 1, 2004 Regular News Lawmakers to discuss funds for new judges, legal aid
ACT contributions will provide aid and assistance following disasters ACT contributions will provide aid and assistance following disasters While the ravages of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast were still being widely reported, Florida was for the second year in a row in the midst of a hurricane season that would not only disrupt lives and property here, but also interrupt legal practices and the courts.Even with all that has been learned recently about disaster preparedness, no one can be entirely ready to deal with the aftermath of tragedy. Some results simply defy expectations, however cautious. That’s why The Florida Bar set up the Florida Attorneys Charitable Trust — ACT — a 501(c)(3) for the exclusive purpose of charitable activities associated with disaster relief.Inspired by the events of September 11, 2001, and recalling Florida’s experiences after Hurricane Andrew, ACT/Attorneys Charitable Trust is a permanent fund offering Florida attorneys an avenue for donations to provide aid and assistance following disasters that curtail legal processes and court activities or which result in reduced citizen access to legal services.“Unlike your donations to The Florida Bar Foundation — which help to provide legal services to low-income people — your support through ACT/Attorneys Charitable Trust will specifically go toward relief efforts aimed at individuals, families and also fellow Bar members,” said President-elect Hank Coxe. “In Louisiana after Katrina, a hastily formed fund provided grants to lawyers and set up temporary business centers for displaced bar members’ use, but it took several months to collect and distribute the donations.”Coxe said in Florida the Bar must be able to react quickly, and with a well-funded ACT/Attorneys Charitable Trust, the Bar will be positioned to provide disaster relief when needed. May 15, 2006 Regular News
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York BE AWAREOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There is still much to be done in the battle against this terrible disease. Awareness is key. So use this month as that added little nudge to educate yourself and your loved ones, if you haven’t already, about the value of early detection and treatment, and support those Long Islanders whose lives have been forever altered. Participate in awareness-related walks and other activities that are taking place throughout the month, or visit your local breast cancer nonprofit and volunteer to help.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York More than 100 people rallied Thursday in support of a wind farm proposed off Long Island’s coast that was up for debate at a meeting of the Long Island Power Authority board.Calling it a “Let’s Turn, Not Burn” rally for renewable energy, Long Island ratepayers, community activists, labor and political leaders convened outside the utility’s Uniondale headquarters before the meeting. Once inside the building, they packed the conference room.“Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and LIPA promised us a greater commitment to renewable energy this year,” said Lisa Dix, senior New York representative of the Sierra Club, the national environmental organization. “Now, we’re counting on them to follow through with an historic commitment to offshore wind power that will create jobs, grow our economy and safely and reliably power Long Island.”The Deepwater ONE project would be the nation’s first 1,000 megawatt offshore wind farm, providing electricity to LI and New England. Plans call for 150 to 200 wind turbines within a 256-square-mile site more than 30 miles from Montauk, roughly 10 miles east of Block Island and about 15 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard. The project would produce enough electricity to power 150,000 LI homes and meet peak power demand without burning more fossil fuels, according to the advocates’ estimates.At the meeting, Assemb. Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket) brought a letter addressed to Cuomo that was signed by 14 Republican and Democratic members of the Island’s Assembly delegation to show “our strong support for offshore wind power generation for Long Island.”Engelbright pointed out that wind power “perfectly complements” PSEG’s announced long-range goal of relying more on “clean, renewable energy production” in the future as well as enabling the state to meet its own renewable energy goals to reduce carbon emission 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.The project’s proponents urged the Cuomo administration to ensure that LIPA approve Deepwater Wind’s Deepwater ONE proposal, which is now under consideration, “no later than December 2014.”The demonstration was timed to coincide with the final LIPA Board of Trustees public hearing before they vote in December on the renewable energy “Request for Proposal,” as part of Gov. Cuomo’s LIPA reorganization legislation.“We look forward to working with your administration to bring about a better energy future by realizing the great potential of offshore wind power on Long Island,” said the Assembly members.In a separate letter supporting Deepwater ONE, Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Bridgehampton) wrote that the East End faces “unique energy and economic challenges” in the coming years, but it can’t depend on the existing electricity grid to be sufficient, given its present limitations. He welcomed the new energy supply promised by the offshore wind turbines because it could meet the current challenge as well as future demands. The project has another advantage as well, the Assemblyman pointed out.“As the only offshore wind development near Long Island to have completed the necessary federal leasing process, Deepwater Wind’s project has the unique ability to be in service many years before other projects, ensuring that Long Island will be at the forefront of the U.S. offshore wind industry,” he said.Not only would the project create hundreds of jobs based on the Island, Thiele added, it would also “establish the infrastructure and skilled labor force necessary to give Long Island a long-term competitive advantage in the offshore wind industry.”At the meeting, energy conservation groups presented LIPA and the Department of Public Service with petitions signed by more than 20,000 people, urging that LIPA follow through on its commitment to invest in 280 megawatts of new renewable energy this year. And that commitment is part of a broader goal already on the table, as explained by Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island.“When PSEG took over LIPA, Governor Cuomo and the Legislature assured Long Islanders that plans for 400 megawatts of renewable power projects already under consideration would not be abandoned,” Raacke said. “We now call on the governor, LIPA and PSEG to deliver on that promise by selecting the full amount of offshore wind power and solar farms under the current 280 megawatt RFP.”