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Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Cuomo Adopt a Statewide Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Project Approvals

July 7, 2016

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We, the undersigned, write respectfully to request that you impose a statewide moratorium on granting permits, Water Quality Certifications or other regulatory approvals for transmission pipelines, power generating plants, compressor stations and fossil fuel infrastructure projects that are environmental hazards and would perpetuate New York's dependence on burning natural gas, coal and oil for energy generation.

These facilities have caused very serious personal and environmental hazards, including explosions, fires, toxic discharges, property damage and loss of life that state authorities have neither been able to prevent nor clean up according to Department of Environmental Conservation data as well as a Pipeline Safety Oversight Audit of the Public Service Commission released by the Office of the New York State Comptroller in March 2016. This problem must be resolved before more fossil fuel infrastructure is authorized.

There also can be no question that on-going consumption of large amounts of fossil fuels causes immense pollution problems in New York and contributes to global climate change. With the establishment of the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 and your administration’s own emissions goal of producing 50% of our electricity with renewable resources by 2030, we urge you to take comprehensive action to minimize New York's reliance on fossil fuels without further delay.

According to the New York Independent System Operator’s Power Trends 2016 report, 57% of New York energy generating capacity involves natural gas and natural gas with oil back-up. This type of power generation is proposed to rise to 70% due to a glut of cheap natural gas. Coal generates another three percent of New York's electricity.

In short, fossil fuel generates most of our state's power and is very likely to provide even more unless strong action is taken. Your State Energy Plan documents that wind and solar produces only 2.4% and 0.4% of New York's electricity, respectively. It also shows that 22.5% of New York's energy generation is from hydropower, which makes up 88% of statewide renewable energy, all produced by 50-year-old hydroelectric plants.

Despite New York's best efforts, new sustainable energy generation remains very low due to high costs and technical hurdles. As a result, it will be extremely challenging, in our view, to achieve our state’s climate goals of 50% renewable energy by 2030 if New York State continues to permit fossil fuel projects that would pollute the environment for decades to come, such as the Spectra and Algonquin Incremental Markets (AIM) pipelines and the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), Danskammer and Cricket Valley power plants.

We note and applaud your administration's decision to deny the Section 401 Water Quality Certification required for the Constitution Pipeline to be built. With the denial of that 124-mile transmission pipeline, and your blocking of the Port Ambrose offshore Liquified Natural Gas project, and, of course, your DEC’s prohibition on hydro-fracking, we see promising first steps toward moving New York away from continued fossil fuel infrastructure build-out.

The proposed moratorium is critical in transitioning New York to a less polluting energy future. Our state must halt fossil fuel infrastructure development so coal, natural gas and oil consumption can be minimized by implementing energy efficiency efforts that are both economically viable and technically feasible.

In your 2016 Agenda, Built to Lead, you wisely proposed:

"The least expensive and most effective way to meet our state energy goals is simply to reduce the overall energy consumption of New York's homes, businesses, and institutions by making them more efficient. Increasing energy efficiency also lowers utility bills for customers and enables businesses to reduce their operating costs."

We believe this sensible policy must be implemented across New York because it would slash fossil fuel consumption, protect the environment and save money for homeowners and renters, institutions and businesses.

We believe, however, that New York can, and should, do much more in this crucial area than what has been proposed, which is to improve the "energy efficiency of 500,000 homes and 20,000 businesses by 2020..." That would only address six percent of New York's more than eight million housing units in five years.

Since all forms of energy production cause pollution and incur heavy costs, the less energy New Yorkers use, the better. We propose to cut statewide energy consumption by at least one-third through comprehensive insulation, weatherizing and retrofitting efforts unprecedented in America.

Tens of thousands of rewarding jobs could be generated using tried and true, low-cost techniques paid for by energy savings, such as blown cellulose insulation made from recycled paper. This could bolster our economy at a time of great need like the "energy conservation" programs that your father, Governor Mario Cuomo, and the Legislature championed years ago.

This is an ideal time for New York to implement this kind of large-scale demand-side energy conservation. Statewide electricity demand is expected to be "flat" for the coming decade and New York reportedly has ample energy back-up capacity according to Power Trends 2015. Moreover, our plan would not conflict with any sustainable energy alternative initiatives.

We are open to your suggestions and welcome an opportunity to discuss our proposal in detail with you and your staff.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Very respectfully yours,

Total Signatory Count: 1447

elisabeth meyer
Assoc Professor
cornell University
41 elm street
trumansburg, ny
Lisa A. Valiente
237 Picardy Ln
Bolingbrook, IL
Valorie Rockney
224 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca , NY
Suzanne McMannis
Earthwalk Farm
P.O. Box 4174
Ithaca, New York
Lynn McMannis
Earthwalk Farm
P.O. Box 4174
Ithaca, New York
Victoria Miskolczy
110 Van Ostrand Rd
Newfield , NY
Teri Lanciault
125 Merchant St
Guilford, NY
Barbara Kane Lewis
702 Pat's Place
Ithaca , New York
sarah shapiro
475 17th street apt. 3
brooklyn, ny
Amanda Means
5 Hanna Lane, #5
Beacon, NY
harold kugelmass
PO Box264
Interlaken, New York
Amanda Byrnes
127 Co. Hwy. 5
Otego, NY
Davis Schwartz
1190 E Shore Drive
Ithaca, New York
kathy morris
Photography by Kathy Morris
97 Seely Hill Rd
newfield, nY
Andrew Kaufman
7313 Wakefield Drive
Fayetteville , NY
Jon Lynch
118 Leland st
Portland , ME
Cathy Farris
40 church rd
Mountaindale, New York
Rick Rogers
64 Pelto Road
Spencer, NY
Marie Dungan
494 Granton Mountain Road
Walton, New York
roberta wallitt
coddington rd
ithaca, New York
Esther Herkowitz
94 Mary Street
Ithaca, NY
Mary Beth OConnor
119 Middaugh Road
Brooktondale, NY
David Limburg
2 Crown Street
Nelsonville, NY
MJ Kribs
25 Eggleston St
Corinth, New York
Clyde Duane Zaloudek
431 East 12st Street #1B
New York, NY
Patricia DeBruhl
56 little york rd
Wartwick, New York
Pramilla Malick
264 Jacobs Road
Westtown, New York
Luce Guanzini
87 West Hill Rd
Spencer, NY
Linda Ochs
2400 Homestad Drive
Waterloo, NY
Daniel Belliveau
95 Lafayette Ave
Geneva, New York
Karen K Smith
68 Mary St.
Ithaca, NY
Eileen Fairbrother
4280 Stone Bridge Rd
Morrisville, Ny
John Bijarney
Founding Member
Concerned Citizens of Rural Broome
101 South Street
Chenango Forks, NY
Claudia Gorman
476 Poplar Hill Road
Unadilla, NY
Megan Marks
4635 East Valley Rd.
Andover, NY
Aimee Arceo
77 Cheshire Lane
East Amherst, NY
Cheryl Frank
829 Winton Rd S
Rochester, Ny
Harold Johnson
445 Smith-Kingsman Rd.
McDonough, NY
Rosemary Weinberg
Niskayuna, NY
Cheri Dorr
Sullivan County Residents Againast Millennium (SCRAM)
P.O. Box 37
Barryville, NY
Louis Sebesta
100 Grand Blvd. FL 2
Binghamton, New York
Terriesa Giglio
Eldre, New York
Bill King
130 Westhaven Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Jill Leighty
135 Hollow Road
Pond Eddy, NY
Maureen Dill
Advocates for Morris
The Highlands
Morris, NY
Peter Coleman
3456 County Highway 35
Schenevus , NY
Paul Pollard
340 Haven Ave, 2N
New York, New York
Edward Chen
, NY
George Doran
4335 Riley Road
Moravia, New York
Pamela Lafayette
1421 Mecklenburg Rd
Ithaca, New York