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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

Charles C. Morrison,
Member of the Board of Directors
Protect the Adirondacks
88 Court Street
Saratoga Springs, New York
John Rogers
721 Five Mile Drive #1
Ithaca, NY
Melissa Bishop
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy
24 Church St.
Deposit, NY
Laurie Goodhart
Box 545
Cambridge, NY
William Mason
Sanctuary Woods
206 Miller Road
Mount Vision, NY
Camille Doucet
30 Marsh Rd
Ithaca, NY
Leslie Potter
109 Main St.
Big Flats, NY
Dan Klein
56 Durfee Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Harry Aceto
411 Willow Ave.
Ithaca, NY
Frederick Smith
Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes
14 Northview Drive
Penn Yan, New York
David Werier
245 Eastman Hill Rd.
Willseyville, New York
John Keevert
Environmental Climate Task Force, First Unitarian Church of Rochester
101 Coniston Dr
Rochester, NY
Jo Ellen del Campo
43 Hillcrest Drive
Alfred, NY
Ellen Knopf
77 Bleecker Street
New York, New York
Marsha Acerra
PO Box 881
Ithaca, NY
Judith Rothenberg
1703 Coddington Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Mary Menapace
2487 East Lake Road
Skaneateles , NY
Joanne Steele
1 Union Center Road
St. Remy, NY
Marianna Kaufman
7313 Wakefield dr
Fayetteville, NY
Gregory Winner
self employed
103 Heselton Dr.
Slate Hill, New York
Heidi Schwaninger
210 Creamery Rd
Richford, NY
Andrea Fisher
164 Reiss Road
Middletown, New York
Elaine Perkus
1617 State Route 12
Binghamton, NY
Cari Gardner
44 Clarewood Drive
Hastings on Hudson, NY
Margaret Goodman
51 Broomall Lane
Glen Mills, PA
Sally Freund
Po Box 81
Hector, NY
Laura Purdy
75 Turkey Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Cary Fassler
398 state rt. 69
Williamstown (Amboy), New York
Carl Burak
Santa Monica College
109 breeze ave.
venice, CA
Alice Bartholomew
415 Wall Street
Elmira, NY
Chris Saia
12 McGuinness Blvd. South
Brooklyn, NY
Grace Kelly
PO Box 275
New Baltimore, NY
marilyn gold
101 Oak
Brooklyn, ny
Donn Mummery
67 Village Trail
Honeoye Falls, New York
Elizabeth Sanders
16 The Byway
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth DeWitt
36-14 165 street
Flushing, New York
Mark Bernard
49 Fischer Ave
Kingston, NY
Judith Hyman
Enfield Neighbors for Safe Air and Water
632 Bostwick Road
Ithaca, NY
Jeannette Rice
Rensselaerville, NY 12147, NY 12147
gloria osborne
7768 Straight Rd.
springwater, New York
Dru Wheelin
1028 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
Anna Gibson
311 Bailor Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Kristen Nygren
Medical Director
Family and Children's Services
101 Rachel Carson Way
ITHACA, New York
Suzanne Stewart
Patricia Vendryes
Groton, NY
patricia rodriguez
559 Brooktondale Rd
brooktondale, NY
charles chamot
385 maple lane
new kingston, ny 12459
Binghamton, NY
Bernard Handler
Steering Committee
30 Delaware Ave
Damascus , PA
Brandi Merolla
214 Mathias Weiden Drive
Narrowsburg, NY