Editorial: Legislative commission on LIPA represents a path forward

Editorial: Legislative commission on LIPA represents a path forward

The LIPA Power Station. Photo by Kyle Barr

In recent years, Long Islanders have grown increasingly frustrated and alienated by our state government in Albany. This dynamic must change to move our region forward.

New York State has failed to meet our needs or fulfill our aspirations on various local issues. From stonewalling modernization of the Port Jefferson Branch of the Long Island Rail Road to lackluster maintenance of our state roadways to blatant negligence in protecting nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, our state government has come up short constantly.

While geographical proximity may make it difficult for Albany to be attuned to all of our needs, the state government has not made a proper effort to listen to and address our concerns.

Though the connection between Albany and Long Island remains decidedly frayed, one 2022 development should give our citizens hope: the Legislative Commission on the Future of the Long Island Power Authority.

Given the complexity of restructuring LIPA as its contract with PSEG-LI nears expiration in December 2025, a team of state legislators has moved around our Island to gather public feedback on the matter — and the people are speaking up.

At TBR News Media, we are committed to a bottom-up policymaking approach. The citizens of our communities should be guiding our state government toward representative policy outcomes — not the other way around, as is currently practiced. And our elected representatives in the state Legislature are the necessary agents to convert our collective will into sound policy.

This legislative commission on LIPA is a rare opportunity to see our state officials at work, generating local feedback that they will then share with the remainder of the Legislature. This commission is opening up meaningful conversations about a critical state policy that affects all of us.

Questions surrounding our electrical grid are complicated, and many of them will likely remain unresolved regardless of the commission’s final recommendations. Yet, for once, our citizens have been given a voice.

The promise of this legislative commission is its ability to give our residents a platform to help guide state policy. We need such legislative commissions to explore better relationships with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the NYS Department of Transportation and various other state agencies.

With this style of bottom-up democracy, we can begin to decentralize the power of Albany, restoring a connection between Long Island and New York State that has for years been severed.

We ask our state delegation to begin holding more commissions, and may we all start participating in a more representative legislative process moving forward. If we make our voices heard, we cannot be ignored.