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Gov. Cuomo, NYPA On Guard Against Terrorism - Downstate, That Is.

By James Hufnagel

Robert Moses Power Plant, Lewiston, NY.
Kensico Dam
Kensico in Iraq
Kensico Sarafiya Bridge

On Oct. 24, 2005, the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where numerous journalists and other westerners resided, was the target of bombing attacks by two vehicles in rapid succession. The first blew a hole through the 12-foot concrete wall surrounding the hotel, and a second truck drove through the hole and detonated next to the building, causing extensive damage and killing 20 people.

One month later, on Nov. 18, another Baghdad hotel, the Hamra, was attacked. A van exploded next to the concrete blast wall protecting the hotel complex, creating a large hole in the barrier. Less than a minute later, a water tanker packed with explosives drove through the opening and exploded, killing eight.

On April 12, 2007, Al-Qaida detonated a bomb on Baghdad’s Sarafiya Bridge, killing nine people. Two weeks later, Risk Management Solutions, Inc., a California firm which provides qualitative risk analysis assessments for insurance companies worldwide, released a report on the incident. That report should have been closely scrutinized by New York Power Authority security officials in charge of protecting the Niagara Power Project from terrorist attack.

The report stated, "Bridges are notoriously difficult to destroy, so the triggered collapse of the span marks a new level of sophistication in engineering analysis for bomb placement... The large-yield blast shattered coupling bearings between sections of the box girders, causing them to collapse into the river." The report goes on to state that terrorist attempts to blow up similar structures had previously failed, but it is now clear that Al-Qaida has added such attacks, designed specifically to destroy key infrastructure, to its terrorist repertoire.

Clearly, terrorists years ago figured out how to circumvent concrete "hardening" methods such as those NYPA has assured us have made the Niagara Power Project impervious to attack by one or more dynamite-laden vehicles driving across the facility on the Robert Moses Parkway. Not that any explosive device would have to be detonated on the parkway in order to damage the power plant. According to detailed schematics released to the public as part of the relicensing process, suicide bombers could simply drive over the edge of the parkway to destroy critical turbine infrastructure at the base of the dam.

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policy position with respect to the Moses Parkway so far is to whistle past the graveyard, it’s no surprise that certain downstate areas get more attention. For example, all vehicular traffic across the Kensico Dam, located in Westchester County just north of New York City, has been permanently ended due to the dam’s vulnerability to terrorist attack. Local officials joined in with this decision, since catastrophic flooding would engulf over 250,000 people in the event of a successful terrorist attack.

The dam of the Niagara Power Project, less than a mile south of the village of Lewiston, NY, holds back a reservoir containing approximately 164 billion gallons of water.

Former Niagara County Sheriff Thomas Beilein once accompanied a Homeland Security delegation conducting an aerial survey of key infrastructure here. Beilein was quoted in the media as stating, "To be able to point out the vulnerabilities of this area to the decision makers was important to me... I could point (from the helicopter window) and say, ‘Down there is the power plant that supplies the electricity for most of the East Coast.’"

Another local official, Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker, demonstrated that he is way ahead of state politicians and bureaucrats when he ordered the permanent closure of a section of North Transit Street to enhance security around the Isochem chemical plant. The plant manufactures chemicals considered hazardous to the public if they were to fall into the hands of terrorists. As Lockport City Attorney John Ottaviano explained when interviewed on WLVL-AM morning news: (The Department of) Homeland Security has certain regulations and protocols that industries now have to follow, such as Isochem... part of that is to keep the general public a certain distance from these facilities... allowing the general public to travel on that road violated that, so that is why (the roadway) had to be closed down after 9/11."

On the other hand, here in Niagara Falls, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the White Plains, NY-based New York Power Authority allow an underutilized and redundant stretch of road, the Moses Parkway, to traverse the heart of the Niagara Power Project and provide access to random vehicular traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week, exposing the most critical areas of the facility to direct terrorist attack.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 15, 2013