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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

Frank Barry
219 East Lansing Road
Groton, NY
Rosemarie Stepanik
13 Fiora Drive
Fairport, NY
Rebecca Preston
4045 Telephone Rd
Cincinnatus, New York
Carl Murray
51 Sparrowbush rd South
latham, NY
cenie cafarelli
56 Rand Place
Pittsford, NY
Ellen Weininger
24 prescott ave
White Plains , NY
Nancy Peterson
1147 Keyes Ave
Schenectady, NY271
Nancy Beers
110 Creekside Dr. #133
Painted Post, NY
Bonnie Logan
3199 Grenell Road
Middle Grove, NY
Peter Flick
25 Nelson Rd
Lake Huntington, NY
Margaret Fisher
55 Banks Rd.
Brooktondale, NY
Bernadette Fiocca
327 S Titus ave
Ithaca , Ny
Michael Ristorucci
60 First Avenue, 16B
New York, NY
Rebecca Casstevens
sole proprietor
BeanCounters Unlimited
22 Winding Way
Binghamton, New York
Thomas Gudeman
321 Ringwood Rd.
Freeville, NY
Matthew Ryan
259 Boiceville Rd
Brooktondale, N.Y.
Dan Flerlage
881 Bostwick Road
ithaca, New York
Mary Whiting
Retired teacher
Ithaca City Schools
5041 CR 14
Odessa, New York
Ken Deschere
202 South Hill Terrace
Ithaca, NY
Kristina Turechek
392 Hathaway Road
Otego, NY
Douglas Kinney
525 Crawford Road
Otego, NY
Thomas Blecher
313 Utica Street
Ithaca, New York
Doris Chorny
510 Decker Rd
Wallkill, New York
Susan Holland
243 Union Center Road
Ulster Park, New York
Melissa Kolberg
8083 Falls Rd
Trumansburg, New York
Judith A Cartisano
7 Raymond Street
Rochester, NY
Peter Bianco
190 Clinton Road
New Hartford, NY
Martha King
9525 Caywood Rd
Moriah Petty
1749 U St NW, apt 1
Washington , DC
John Steepy
Penfield, New York
Cady Lang
Brooklyn, NY
obie hunt
1150 grand concourse
bronx, NY
Susan Terwilliger
620 Elm Street Ext.
Ithaca, NY
Bruce Dunn
188 bell hill rd
morris, New york
Nkosi Anderson
99 Claremont Avenue
New York, NY
Beth Cohen
B. Beth Cohen, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, PLLC
1309 N. Cayuga St.
Ithaca, NY
Margo Alexander
5585 Searsburg Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Nancy Lipshitz
321 Oquaga Lake Road
Deposit, NY
Margaret Human
Scott Fisher
475 East Broad St Apt 10A
Rochester, New York
ed haffmans
accord, ny
trent schroyer
retired Ramapo College of NJ
293 cascade rd.
warwick, N.Y.
Shirley Rice
3467 South Hill Road
Burdett, New York
Steve Coffman
1874 Dombroski Rd.
Dundee, NY
Tara Sumner
Vice President
*Advocates for Springfield
PO Box 302
Springfield Center, New York
Kasey Murphy
178 Ridgebury Rd
New Hampton, NY
Shirley Southwick
57 W. Main St.
Friendship, NY
Stephanie McMahon
Associate Professor
6405 Palmiter Rd.
Alfred Station, NY
Lisa Barron
1 North Lane
Loudonville, NY
Robert Gosselink
205 Grandview Dr.
Cobleskill, NY