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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

Helen Ellis
POB 303
Canandaigua, New York
phyllis hoenig
191 bullet hole rd
mahopac, ny
Jill Marie
959 Comfort Road
Spencer, New York
Stacy Snyder
154 Westhaven Road
Ithaca , New York
michael blaine
1773 teedlebrook rd.
jefferson, New York
Lurline Fischer
PO Box 851, 825 Main Street
Franklin, NY
Mary Nolan
Louis Linder
21 Pine Road
Briarcliff Manor, New York
Charlotte Gillespie
2888 Sherman Hollow Rd
Penn Yan, New York
Margot Brinn
600 B Hector St.
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Shelley
Chair, Board of Directors
Sustainable Tompkins
118 E. Court St.
Ithaca, NY
Lisa Valiente
237 Picardy Ln
Bolingbrook, IL
Eric Hollman
490 Plutarch Rd.
Highland, NY
James Cella
24061 depew avenue
Douglaston, Ny
Elsie Cushing
1497 Water Wells Rd.
Alfred Station, New York
kay kin
1134 stonebarn rd
clevelamd, ny
Jonathan Culler
909 Wyckoff Road
Ithaca, NY
John Hopple
3300 Perry City Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Chuck Tauck
Sheldrake Point Winery
7448 Cty Rd 153
Ovid, NY
W. McLaughlin
Warren road
New berlin, Ny
Gail Flanery
1137 Hedgewood Lane
Niskayuna, NY
Kim Fraczek
Sane Energy Project
250 Moore St. #410
Brooklyn, NY
Nidhi Huba
Route 212
Willow, Ny
Heriberto Rodriguez
Mount Upton, New York
Kenneth Fogarty
C-CARE (Chenango Community Action For Renewable Energy)
74 Gospel Hill Road
Guilford, New York
Anne Rhodes
Dryden Solutions
91 Ed Hill Rd.
Freeville, NY
Lynda Zaleski
729 Middle Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sally McClure-Parshall
3 Hathaway Hill Road, P.O.Box 43
Spencer, NY
robert aceto
336 forest home drive
ithaca, ny
marc messing
PO Box 4046
Ithaca, New York
Frank Zgola
1140 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
POB 323
Kiamesha Lake, New York
Sharon Johnson
Social worker
258 Van Brunt St.
Brooklyn , NY
Roque Ristorucci
100 Sterling Place
Brooklyn, New York
Betty Gillmore
10773 Baker Road
Cato, New York
Shirley Rice
3467 South Hill Road
Burdett, New York
Brock Gibian
1014 state Route 34b
King ferry, Ny
Mary Lorson
Mary Lorson
384 Troy Road
Ithaca, New York
T Michael Salter
1780 Carpenter Road
Georgetown, NY
Rachel Evans
33 Maple
Beacon, NY
Francena Amparo
County Legislator
Dutchess County
32 Scarborough Lane, Apt C
Wappingers Falls, NY
kaima nelson-bowne
70 Walley Road
franklin, New York
I Peress
110 Carter Creek Rd
Newfield , NY
cheryl cary
1 Kimberlee Drive
Canastota, New York
David Kauber
3080 Rt. 90
Aurora, New York
kate ryan
privare person
87 sal bren rd
delhi, ny
margaret leblanc
312 n.main st.
canastota, new york
Jeanne Ryan
562 Richmond Avenue
Buffalo, New York
Linda Blossom
8387 Knight St
Interlaken, NY
Susan Boutros
Environmental Associates Ltd.
24 Oak Brook Dr.
Ithaca, New York