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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

Peggy Haine
5785 Rumsey Road
Trumansburg, NY
Jerry Cook
Sierra Club, ProtectOrange County,UAFF
36 Ridge Drive
Mount Hope , NY
Lori Siegel
72 truesdale drive
Croton on Hudson , Ny
Howard Zoubek
834 Hobert Ave.
Plainfield, NJ
Martin Filipowski
58 Cascade Rd
Warwick, New York
Kyllikki Inman
110 Halcyon Hill
Ithaca, NY
Tommy Inman
110 Halcyon Hill
Ithaca, NY
Laurel Hodgden
112 Halcyon Hill
Ithaca, NY
Harold Harris
685 Academy Street
New York, NY
Janice Burton
3058 Slaterville Rd
Brooktondale, New York
Leslie Gold
40 Downing St.
Kora von Wittelsbach
Cornell University
127 Klarman Hall
Ithaca, NY
Sam Sebren
PO Box 131
Athens, NY
Pamela Stanley
Albert Einstein College Medicine
380 Riverside Drive
New York, NY
Gerrit Crouse
American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)
38 4th Avenue, Apt 2-N
Nyack, NY
Cindy Getchonis
124 Esty St
Ithaca, Ny
Douglass Turner
37 S. Main Street
Alfred, New York
Rachel Marco-Havens
Co-Director, Youth Engagement Director
Earth Guardians New York, Earth Guardians
96 Mill Hill Road
Woodstock, NY
Vicky Southall
5611 Godfreys Pond Rd
bergen, ny
Mark Pezzati
56 Mayer Road
Andes, New York
Jay Josephson
1477 Brown Hollow Rd.
Corning, N.Y.
Lynn Cahill-Hoy
4413 Lathrop Drive
Marcellus, NY
Sheila Long
Transfiguration Monastery
701 State Route 79
Windsor, NY
Valerie Lucznikowska
TriStates Unite for Safe Energy
PO Box 1208
warwick, NY
James Spica
WVKR radio
152 bloomer rd
lagrangeville, NY
Jeanne Fudala
1697 School St
Alpine, NY
Lisa Ripperton
337 Rachel Carson Trail
Ithaca, NY
Euguanie Fudala
1697 School St
Alpine, NY
Scott Wilson
180 Baker Road
South New Berlin, New York
Jean McKoy
407 Gulf Rd
Hartwick, NY
Belinda Howell
34 Colegrove Rd
Ithaca, NY
George Stadnik
2466 44th Street
Astoria, NY
Jo Clayson
Claire Gilliam
62 south street
Warwick, New York
Sarah Raite
Hook Circle
Jamesville , NY
Elizabeth Watts
16 Starks Place
Lynbrook, NY
Margaret Maugenest
280 Nevins Stret
Brooklyn, NY
Paul Tobin
215 Moonhaw Rd
West Shokan, NY
Melissa Tuckey
232 rachel carson way
Ithaca, NY
Molly Glesmann
9732 Starr Hill Rd
Remsen, NY
A. J. vandenBlink
Retired Episcopal priest
315 West Washington Avenue
Elmira, NY 14901
Elizabeth Henderson
Co-Chair Policy Committee of NOFA-NY
2218 Welcher Road
Newark, New York
Marena Gonz
26 Frederick Road
Binghamton , New York
John Benson
5461 Hornby Rd
Beaver Dams, NY
Jayne Frye
290 Wells Rd
S. New Berlin, NY
Sean Zigmund
Root N Roost Farm
64 Mineral Springs Rd
Livingston Manor, NY
Sara Schaffzin
313 Utica Street
Ithaca, New York
Carolyn Thorp
12 Cedar Hill Drive
Warwick, NY
Akhtar Ehtisham
553 Elsie Avenue
South Plainfield, NJ