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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

Kathleen Quinn-Jacobs
Team Leader
Mothers Out Front
52 Sodom Rd
Ithaca, New York
Carey Harben
5885 rt 79
Trumansburg , NY
Mary Thorpe
Co-Director of NYPAN of the Southern Finger Lakes
1220 Langford Creek Road
Van Etten, NY
Theodore Burger
3370 Woodbridge Circle
Bethlehem, PA
Nancy Hutto
10052 416th Ave SE
North Bend, WA
Karen Diefenbach
48 Mckeel avenue
Tarrytown, NY
Deborah Harper
77 Peruville Rd
Lansing, NY
roberto ristorucci
692 10th avenue, apt 4b
new york, New York
Nancy Rees
7134 East Bluff Drive
Penn Yan, NY
Sharon Hammond
74 N. Applegate Rd.
Ithaca, New York
Chris Wheeler
Route 13
Sylvan Beach, NY
Nancy Stewart
509 Coddington Rd.
Ithaca , NY
James Hodges
117 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Yvonne LaMontagne
230 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Philip Khnopp
P.O.Box 610
Churchville, VA
Ellen Lane
104 Halcyon Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NE
Beth Bradley
Mill st
Dryden, NY
Suzanne Johnson
529 Prospect Valley
Willseyville, NY
Patricia Heckart
24 Elm St. Apt 2-4
Trumansburg, NY
Leslie Strebel
117 Roat St
Ithaca, New York
Claudia Reese
3 Pheasant Ln
Ithaca, New YorkP
c weingarten
New York, New York
Maria Reidelbach
Corn Cow, Inc.
ACCORD, New York
Amy Anderson
30 Sycamore Street
Kingston, New York
Deirdre Aherne
New York, NY
JoAnn Kuentz
923 Bridgman Street
Elmira, New York
Karen Biesanz
215 Watauga Ave.
Corning, NY
james fletcher
compressor free Sullivanville
83 e sullivanville rd
horseheads, New York
N Lane
Lansing, NY
Deborah Lynch
Chemung County Dems and NYPAN
105 Fletcher St
Horseheads, NY
Clare Chollet
People for a Healthy Environment, Inc.
722 Latta Brook
Elmira, NY
Jeni Paquette
281 W 3rd St
Corning, NY
Joseph Campbell
Gas Free Seneca
PO Box 333
Watkins Glen, New York
Linda McCarthy
1761 Lucas Ave.
Cottekill, NY
Betty Spero
1770 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, New York
John Bradley
119 Grove St.
North Syracuse, NY
Mary Brady
325 S. Geneva
Ithaca, New York
Michelle Wenderlich
4129 Onnalinda Dr
Canandaigua, NY
Cora Yao
120 Utica St
Ithaca, NY
Susan Hughes-Smith
Rochester People's Climate Coalition
453 Edgewood Ave
Rochester, NY
eli pepper
22 park trail
croton , NY
Diane Bonaccorsi
580 Nelson Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Rose Hilbert
Business Owner
Bed and Breakfast
112 East Main St.
Trumansburg, NY
Margaret Sutton
Skaneateles, New York
James Herman
Founding Member
Sustainable Otsego
125 Kallan Road
Hartwick, NY
Pat Sprott
Scenic artist
USA 829
18838 State HWY 28
Delhi, NY
Douglas Knipple
Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition, Inc.
44 Madison Ter
Rochester, New York
Don Klein
4826 Richardson rd
Skaneateles , Ny