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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

Nancy Knipe
4342 Saint Clair Avenue
Studio City, CA
Kara Emmons
30 East Mayer Drive
Suffern, New York
Lauren Stefanelli
172 Sheffield Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Laura M Stone
130 Douglas Dr
Jackson, nJ
Harold Kugelmass
PO Box 264
Interlaken, New York
Howard Brandstein
638 East 6 Street
New York, NY
Dennis Monier
8001 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
Miriam Rice
4396 Krum's Corners Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Paul Rice
4396 Krum's Corners Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Susan Sullivan
7878 SR 52
Narrowsburg, NY
Stephanie Scherr
ECHO Action: #FossilFree603 NH
27 NH Route 119 East
Fitzwilliam, NH
Fred Wilcox
212 Second
Ithaca, New York
Martha Ferger
PO Box 8
Dryden, NY 13053
Holly Adams
607 Stilson Road
Hunt, NY
Sarah Striffler
605 Hudson St
Ithaca, NY
Karen Kaufmann
110 Northway Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Barbara O'Kane
696 Greenville Turnpike
Middletown, NY
Hank Roberts
253 Coddington Rd
Ithaca, NY
Sara Sogut
3 Millbrook Rd
New Paltz, NY
Donna Denny
Protect Orange County
271 Gardnerville Road
New Hampton , N.Y.
Tom Denny
Tristates Unite
271 Gardnerville Rd
New Hampton , NY
Genevieve Haines
26 Highland View Place
Middletown, NY
Sam Caquias
New York State nurses association
10 oak drive
Middletown, Ny
Judy New
P.o. box 177
Goshen, NU
Rachel Marco-Havens
Community Activator
Center For Earth Ethics, Wittenberg Center, Earth Guardians NY
PO Box 242
Woodstock, NY
Kelly Mohney
171 Chenango St.
Binghamton, NY
Al Frappier
803 Chenango Street
Binghamtom, NY
Chris Sikelianos
Hoose Rd.
Cherry Valley, NY
Richard Driscoll
Newfield, NY
Bruce Krug
2771 West Road
Constableville, New York
Stephanie Sacco
Ross Ave
Buffalo, NY
d tignanelli
29 Colburn Drive
Poughkeepsie, ny
John Burke
74 laurel Av
Sea Cliff, NY
Susan Spivack
250 Quarry Street
Cobleskill, NY
Holly Hutchinson
31 Hessland Ct
Elma, NY
James W Hamilton
member since 2005
Town of Ithaca Conservation Board
1603 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY
Marilyn Anderson
34 Nicholson St.
Rochester, NY
Lynda Caspe
150 Franklin Street, #7
New York, NY
Helen Deckelman
10 Hankins Road
Hankins, NY
Diane Florini
1603 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, NY
Geraldine Aird
41 Ely Drive
Fayetteville,, New York
Beverly Singer
2 Denton Rd
Binghamton, NY
Patricia Maule
28 Columbine Drive
Binghamton, New York
Roz Antoun
5 Riverside Drive
Binghamton , NY
Ilse Funk
238 Mill Rd
Cherry Valley, New York
Eva Zucker
749 West End Av
New York, New York
Julia Morgan
234 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
John Kastner
50 Dorset st.
Rochester, New York
Patricia Heaton
30 Buck Road
Lansing, NY
Deborah Diehl
140 Bundy Road
Ithaca, New York