June 16, 2014
How far would you go to promote clean energy? For Sierra Club member Matt Kearns of Long Island, the answer is 100 miles. This past Saturday, June 14, Kearns took off from Montauk, at the far eastern tip of Long Island, and ran to the town of Babylon, N.Y., to draw attention to Long Island's potential to develop clean, renewable, offshore wind power off the coasts of Montauk and Long Beach, just west of New York City.
Building offshore wind capacity would create jobs, drive millions of dollars in investments to Long Island and position New York as a national leader with one of America's first offshore wind projects.
Kearns' run was originally to end at the Long Beach Boardwalk, but medical reasons forced him to stop just short of his 100-mile goal. He arrived at the boardwalk in the support van, having run 90 miles from Montauk to Babylon -- the equivalent of back-to-back-to-back marathons plus an additional 12 miles.
Photo by Jack McCoy, courtesy of Jack McCoy Photography
A resident of North Babylon who worked for Green Homes and is now project manager for a construction company, Kearns grew up in East Setauket on Long Island's north shore, where he was initially inspired to tackle environmental problems after a dangerous gas pipeline leak that contaminated the water under the town. More recently, his sense of urgency was bolstered by witnessing the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy, which inspired him to take action to find solutions to the climate crisis.
Kearns started working as a home energy efficiency contractor where he spent time everyday talking to Long Islanders about energy issues in their homes. At the same time, he joined the Sierra Club, where he got involved in efforts calling on Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), the local utility, to invest in offshore wind power. This year, PSEG-Long Island (Public Service Electricity and Gas) along with LIPA's trustees could decide to invest in an offshore wind project proposed 30 miles off the coast of Montauk that would produce enough renewable electricity to power 120,000 Long Island homes.