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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

Walter Hang
215 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
John Dennis
Chris Dennis Environment Foundation
893 Cayuga Heights Road
Ithaca, NY
Sherill Tippins
1827 Frost Valley Rd.
Big Indian, NY
Katharine B. Wolpe
107 East 10th St., Apt. 1C
New York City, New York
Judith Block
25 Knolls Cres
Bronx, New York
Christopher Origer
26 Chadwick Road
Binghamton, New York
Jeffrey Dembowski
335 State Street
Albany, NY
Tina Volz-Bongar
426 Smith Street
Peekskill, New York
Erica Baum
81 Grand Street #2
New York, NY
Christopher Furst
Ithaca, NY
Terry Cuddy
Cayuga Anti-Fracking Alliance
133 S. Hoopes Ave.
Auburn, New York
Janice Cragnolin
POB 313
Unadilla, NYDEC
Jonathan Titus
15 Maple Ave.
Fredonia, NY
William Sharfman
50 Riverside Drive
New York, New York
Nancy Istock
41 Horizon Drive
Ithaca, New York
Thomas Warner
2513 Brookview Road
Castleton, New York 12033
Steve Ellsworth
Board Member
Sustainable McDonough
850 Hammerle Rd
Oxford, NY
Daniel Sternglass
President and CEO
Feather Labs, Inc.
403 Highgate Road
Ithaca, NY
Lisa Lippitt
1 Brunner Hollow
Coopestown, NY
Ben Altman
Comfort Rd
Danby, NY
Daniel Otis
815 North Tioga
Ithaca, NY
Mary Wehrung
4831 Birge Rd
Burdett, New York
Thomas Rippolon
438 peekskill hollow rd
putnam valley, NY
Jerry Ravnitzky
124 Hill Street
Mahopac, New York
Thomas McGlinchey
Job Title:
25522 61st Ave
Little Neck, New York
David Kowalski
166 Burbank Dr.
Buffalo, New York
Steven Bissen
Midline Road
Freeville, NY
Vinny Aliperti
4760 W Lake Rd
Geneva, New York
James-Henry Holland
Associate Professor
65 Jay Street
Geneva, NY
Carolee Byrnes
127 County Highway 5
Otego, New York
Katie Fittipaldi
3 Sugarbush Lane
Pittsford , nY
Natasha Suter
21 Brooktondale Rd.
Ithaca, New York
Wes Ernsberger
19 Lake St.
Owego, New York
Lee Bhattacharji
685 Kelly Road
Arkville, NY
Joan Sichterman
TriStates Unite for Safe Energy
PO Box 870
Goshen, NY
Anne Forbes
146 hillcrest ave
Geneva, NY
loren brown
151 new rd
nassau, ny
Neill Clenaghan
8 Acre View Dr
Northport, NY
Anne Lazarus
524 East 20t St. 2G
New York, New York
Elisa Evett
298 Bald Hill Rd.
Brooktondale, New York
Phyllis Perna
527 Stevenson Rd
Westport, NY
Ronald Lytel
87 Pioneer St.
Cooperstown, NY
Beth Olearczyk, MD
87 Pioneer St.
Cooperstown, NY
Connie Hogarth
Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action
20 Hartsook Lane
Beacon, NY
William Crum
2150 Wallace Ave Apt 5D
the Bronx, New York
Karl Klein
4648 N Tower Rd.
Cincinnatus, NY
James Ayers
759 Samsonville Road
Kerhonkson, NY
Carol Ransom
21 McDuffy Hollow Rd
Van Etten, NY
David Gould
574 West End Ave
New York, NY
Randolph Hurst
Sierra Club AC, Ramapo - Catskill Group Conservation Group, Protect Orange
83 Post Road
Slate Hill, New York