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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

Jeffrey Levine
50 Reber Road
Eldred, NY
Dr. Donald Royce-Roll
1421 Mecklenburg Rd
Ithaca, New York
John Milich
Journalist and Editor
PO Box 333
Freeville, NY
McKeanna Myerd
111 west peenpack trail
sparrowbush, ny
Debra Conway
founding member
Sullivan County Residents Against Millennium (SCRAM)
PO Box 185
Barryville, New York
Rosemary Taylor
811 Bon Air Rd.
Lansing, MI
John Bowers
1406 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Brewster
803 E Main St
Little Falls, New York
Chelsea Zantay
SAVE Burden Lake
301 North Salem Road
Ridgefield, Connecticut
Barbara Clifford
Montrose, PA
Mikki Chalker
119 Prospect St
Binghamton, NY
Margaret Lally
598 President Street
Brooklyn, New York
Ruth Hyde
Lifetime Member
Bergen Swamp Society
61 Fernboro Rd.
Rochester, New York
Joel chaffee
500 W 122nd St #1H
New York, NY
John reed
3058 slatervile road
brooktondale, ny
Theodora Ntovas-Roth
1600 S Jefferson St. #102
Chicago, Illinois
Margaret McDuffie
, NY - New York
Anie Stanley
170 Luxton Lake Road
Narrowsburg, NY
Cherry Rahn
16 Jay St
Geneva, NY
Ann Ellis
2140 Long Creek Road
Apalachin, ny
Sharon Gary
24 Prince Street
New York, New York
John Back
7 Harder Road
Barryville, NY
Zorika Henderson
7 Sunny Knoll
Ithaca, NY
john valentine
Mohawk Valley Keeper
1059 state highway 80
ft. plain, New York
manuel rodriguez
1559 betts hill rd
delhi, ny
Brian Greeson
71 Willis
South Wales, NY
Richard Parkinson
Gail Musante
official signer for the organization
S-OACC (Sanford-Oquaga Area Concerned Citizens)
199 Front Street
Deposit, NY
Joseph Wilson
75 Hunt Hill
Ithaca, NY
Joan Ross
36 Madison Avenue East
New Baltimore, NY
Beth Mielbrecht
53 Enfield Main Road
Ithaca, NY
Anne Hemenway
PO Box 206
Woodstock, NY
Rose Mackiewicz
1773 Teedlebrook Road
Jefferson, New York
Gretchen Herrmann
433 Bostwick Road
Ithaca, New York
Christopher Sikelianos
637 Hoose Rd.
Cherry Valley, NY
Evan Romer
51 Chestnut St
Windsor, NY
Peter Heitzman
POB 335
Oneida, NY
Sheila Squier
110 Columbia Street
Ithaca, New York
Jay English
2309 Ulster gardens Ct
Kingston, NY
Amanda Wallgren
598 elk point road
Livingston Manor , Ny
Karen Stamm
366 Broadway
New York, NY
Kurt Huhner
250 West 94th st, APT 12 J
New York , NY
Patricia Rigby
9327 State Hwy30
Downsville, New York
Max Schmid
46-07 28th Ave
Astoria, NY
Dan Taylor
Co- founder
Concerned residents of Oxford
321 E 90 th st. Apt c
Elaine Zablocki
Don't Frack New York.
100 Caswell St.
Afton, New York
Martha Scoppa
32 Cold Spring Road
Liberty, NY
Maria Luisa Tasayco
City College of New York
116 Pinehurst Ave H43
New York, NY
Priscilla T. Bassett
Senior Legislarive Action Committee of Sullivan County
292 Glade Hill Road
Diana Strablow
71 Wardman Road
Kenmore, NY