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Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Cuomo End New York's Addiction to Fossil Fuels

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


We, the undersigned, write respectfully to request that you deny authorization for all proposed natural gas and oil pipelines, power plant conversions, new generating facilities and other infrastructure projects that would perpetuate New York's addiction to highly polluting fossil fuels for many decades to come.

We also request that you take urgent action to maximize energy efficiency across New York in order to minimize energy demand and strengthen our economy.

Your proposed 2016 agenda, Built to Lead, states, "Since taking office, the Governor has created and pursued the most aggressive environmental and sustainability agenda of any state in the country to mitigate climate change."

With all respect, wind, solar and geothermal renewable sources met 1.1% of New York's total primary energy requirement in 2013 according to a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) report, entitled: Power Trends, New York State Energy Profiles, 1999-2013.

Including hydropower generated by plants that average 50 years old, New York's total primary consumption of energy from renewable resources is less than 10% according to NYSERDA.

The nation as a whole has achieved approximately the same meager renewable resources primary consumption rate according to NYSERDA.

See pages 45 and 13: Patterns and Trends - New York State Energy Profiles: 1999-2013

Given the urgent need to reduce reliance on polluting fossil fuels, we believe New York must cut coal, oil and natural gas burning without further delay.

In stark contrast, your administration recently authorized new fossil fuel projects that will perpetuate New York's addiction to oil and gas for many years to come.

These include the Spectra Energy Corp. New Jersey - New York Expansion Project natural gas pipeline, the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) natural gas pipeline and the Danskammer gas/oil-fired generating plant, to name only a few.

Section 401 Water Quality Certifications never should have been granted for these pipeline projects because your New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has a well-documented history of failing to prevent at least 114 pipeline explosions, fires, ruptures and toxic discharges, including many uncontrolled releases that were never cleaned up to state standards.

You also recently proposed to potentially convert more coal-fired power plants to burn natural gas. That could result in fossil fuel being burned long into the future.

According to Power Trends 2015, a report by the Independent System Operator, "projects using natural gas (gas-only and dual-fuel units capable of using either natural gas and/or oil) account for 56 percent of New York's generating capacity (emphasis added)."

"More than 70 percent of all proposed generating capacity in New York are natural gas or dual fuel power projects (emphasis added)."

See PDF page six: Power Trends 2015

It makes little sense to invest in expensive fossil fuel pipelines, power plants and infrastructure when far superior, less polluting alternatives are readily available.

For example, your Built to Lead proposed 2016 agenda includes a proposal to "Make 500,000 Homes and 20,000 Businesses More Energy Efficient By 2020:"

"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 (emphasis added)."

This policy is extraordinarily sensible, beyond dispute and ready to be implemented across New York. Yet, your proposed 2016 budget includes zero funding to weatherize, retrofit and increase the energy efficiency of New York's more than eight million housing units in any meaningful way.

See page 79: Built to Lead - 2016 State of the State

What We Request That You Do in 2016

Against that background, we respectfully request that you require your administration to:

1) kill all proposed natural gas pipelines and infrastructure projects that would increase fossil fuel consumption by denying Section 401 Water Quality Certifications required for their construction;

2) stop all coal-fired power plant conversions to natural gas and new fossil fuel power plants that would perpetuate our state's addiction to fossil fuel for decades to come;

3) maximize energy efficiency and minimize energy demand by funding unprecedented insulation, weatherizing, retrofitting and energy efficiency efforts;

4) prohibit all forms of shale fracking, notably "gelled" propane; and

5) halt highly polluting oil and gas production that has contaminated New York for nearly two centuries.


For many years, efforts to supplant fossil fuels with renewable energy alternatives have made paltry progress in New York and from coast to coast. Oil and gas production has recently skyrocketed to the highest levels in 40 years due to shale fracking. As a result, it will be harder than ever for states to curtail fossil fuel burning in favor of less polluting sustainable alternatives.

Given those challenges, we request that your administration implement the proposals outlined herein in order to make New York the first state in the nation to end its addiction to fossil fuels by rejecting an "all of the above" energy supply policy that condones consumption of new supplies of fracked natural gas and oil.

Denying authorization for all proposed oil and natural pipelines, power plant conversions, new generating facilities and infrastructure projects in New York would curtail future fossil fuel burning in our state.

Minimizing future energy demand through weatherization, retrofitting and energy efficiency would protect the environment and public health while generating potentially huge numbers of jobs. This proposal also would help accelerate New York's transition toward renewable alternatives.

Given that "flat" electricity demand is predicted for the next decade in New York, this is an ideal time to cut demand even further. Moreover, this proposal would not conflict with efforts to grow a "clean energy economy."

We trust that you will find our request self-explanatory, but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.

Thank you very much for your consideration and your public service.

Always very respectfully,

Total Signatory Count: 1195

Karen Stamm
366 Broadway
New York, New York
Robert Schwab
124 Gale Place
Bronx, NY
Hank De Leo
82 Burdick Hill Rd
Ithaca, New York
Laurie Conrad
405 E Lincoln St
Ithaca, NY
judith ackerman
636 west end av
nyc, ny
M.Sharon Gambocorto
7626-7 Highbridge Rd.
Manlius, NY
Patricia Rigby
9327 State Highway 30
Downsville, New York
Helen Burlingham
Regional Action Group for The Environment
6320 Soper Rd.
Perry, NY 14530
Marilyn Klaiber
72 Algonquin Rd
Clifton Park, NY
David Brown
Amphibious Films, LLC
72 Michigan Hollow Road
Spencer, NY
Judith M. Fitzgerald
560 West 218th Street, Apt. 6A
New York, NY
Marilyn Schambach
713 Oak Hill Road
Afton, NY
Silke Ullmann
311 Blackstone Ave
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Shelley
Chair, Board of Directors
Sustainable Tompkins
118 E. Court St.
Ithaca, NY
William Huston
Pipeline Safety researcher, blogger, videographer
NY Friends of Clean Air and Water
po box 2873
binghamaton, ny
Rebecca Smyth
216 First Street
Ithaca, New York
Loren Brown
151 New Rd
nassau, New York
Ronald Lytel
87 Pioneer Street
Cooperstown, NY
Beth Olearczyk
87 Pioneer Street
Cooperstown, NY
Alice Bartholomew
415 Wall Street
Elmira, NY
vicky southall
5611 godfreys pond rd
bergen, NY
Gayle Gray
Katherine Hanna
215 N. Cayuga St.
Ithaca, NY
Mary Ann McDonough
65 Highland Avenue
Otisville, ny
Mildred E. Sanders
16 The Byway
Ithaca, NY
Martha Rowen
101 Clark St
Brooklyn, NY
Wes Ernsberger
19 Lake St.
Owego, New York
Richard Driscoll
Newfield, NY
Ruby Turner
85 Autumn Ridge Circle
Ithaca, New York
Leslie Kurzweil
2250 N. Triphammer Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Erin Heaton Meyer
Vice Chair
Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy (C-CARE)
510 County Road 31
Norwich, NY
Renee Toback
54 Fairfield Road
Yonkers, NY
Donna Mummery
67 Village Trail
Honeoye Falls, New York
Patricia Dinges
P.O. Box 240
Salt Point, NY
J Fisher
Concerned resident NYS
3796 state route 364
Canandaigua, NY
Christopher Reed
59 Main Street
Philmont, New York
Stephanie Kutzke
Sierra club, LWV, ADK
70 white oak,bend
Rochester, Ny
Sandra Salisbury
151 Sherwood Hill Rd
Brewster, NY 10509
Meredith Bocek
75 Glann Road
Apalachin, New York
Frank Bocek
75 Glann Road
Apalachin, New York
Richard Allen
43 Forest Acres Dr.
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Burkart
149 piper rd
Newfield, New york
Marianne Krieg
614 S Plain Street
Ithaca, NY
Denis Byrne
30 Cliff Road
Belle Terre, NY
Emoretta YANG
40 Mill St
Lansing, NY
Jane Graves
411 Warren Road
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Heaton
30 Buck Road
Lansing, NY
Nelson DuBois
137 Palmer Rd
Otego, NY
Patrice Jennings
244 bald hill rd
Spencer, NY
Douglas Kinney
525 Crawford Road
Otego, NY