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Things that may shock

Long Island is famous for its plumes: Toxic, gravity-driven, creeping subterranean chemicals leaching from long-ago manufacturing ventures toward precious water supplies. According to studies, the preservative Penta in the new PSEG poles enable them to create their own little mini toxic plumes, so they’ll fit right in here.


Pentachlorophenol is the toxic preservative that a large percentage of the poles that carry Long Island’s wires are soaked in. It gives the wood a green appearance, which is interesting, as other various toxins are used to help green up a lawn too! Though I’m sure all those chemicals will all just go away, and not leach through the soil and into the water table.


​LIPA’s recent decision to scale back the frequency of meetings allowing ratepayers to air grievances to the board makes sense from LIPA’s perspective: Hey, only 5 meetings where people yell at you, as opposed to 12! But with ever-increasing rates as a backdrop, the symbolic shrinkage of oversight and concern feels ominous.

People power

Being new to Long Island, I’m finding its electricity charges tricky. Costs are generously passed along for the Shoreham nuclear plant, which never opened; a hated public authority owns the wires and the poles; and one private company manages the system while another runs the generating plants. I’m sure someday I’ll figure it out.