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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

John Bowers
Cornell University
1406 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY
Kristin Lovelace-Ross
56 Waterburg Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Dorothy Pomponio
Groton Resource Awareness Coalition
206 Elm Street
Groton, New York
Jennifer Lahey
1 Orchard Drive
South Salem, NY
Mark Ferrari
3627 Keesee Road
Moravia, NY
Mark Casner
33 Belair Road
Staten Island, New York
David Daly
110 N Quarry St
Ithaca, NY 14850
david kukella
7 Adams Street
Auburn, NY
Barbara F. Usher
144 Besemer Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Richard Kolb
33 Maple St
Beacon, 12508
Daisy Jopling
, NY 10566
Wendy Graham
35 Patricia Street
Binghamton, NY
708b plymouth drive
lakewood, NJ
Karen Marmer
1116 Elm St.
Peekskill, NY
Mary Roberts
782 Clark St. Ext
Groton, NY
Paul Ferrazzi
Executive Director
Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community
4209 Jackson Avenue
Culver City, CA
Conrad Putzig
102 Misty Hills Lane
Carmel, NY
Alicia Alexander
Pesident and Owner (respectilvely)
GoGreenNy and Amazing Grace B&B
136 Hunt Hill Road
Ithaca, New York
Colleen Callan
59-39 174th Street
Fresh Meadows, NY
Kristen Steele
251 Culver Road
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Burkart
100 woodsedge dr
Lansing, New york
Alfonse Emmolo
2766 Montauk highway, POB 1681
Genevieve Shipley
1106 N. Tioga St Apt 1
Ithaca, NY
Dominic Thoas
140 Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY
steve saperstein
320 Milltown Rd.
Brewster, NY
Brian Spako
77 front ave
Salamanca, Ny
Arthur Scott
Marist college
6 Andrea Dr
Poughkeepsie, NY
cynthia carestio
Frack Free Genesee
84 north main st
canandaigua, new york
Caroline Arthur
114 W Lincoln St
Ithaca, NY
Arthur Salo
11 Foxpointe Circle
Fairport, New York
Nancy Donnan Coleman
Frack Free Genesee
4690 White Road
livonia, New York
Rachel Evans
33 Maple St.
Beacon, NY
Anita Sterns
411 E. Glen Ave.
Syracuse, NY
Lars Peterson
1623 Brown Rd.
King Ferry, NY
Aimee Dars Ellis
3776 Shumway Road
Burdett, NY
Montclair State University
Jorg-Michael Schwarz
1116 Elm St.
Peekskill, NY
Judith Arnold
868 East Maine Rd
Jill Wortman
jeanne shaw
9 van cortlandt place
croton on hudson, NY
Mark Kuebel
402 W. 148th St #42
New York, NY
108 Bowery
New York, NY
Martin Jorgensen
1692 Ellis Hollow Rd. Apt 2
Ithaca, NY
Theresa F Alt
206 Eddy St.
Ithaca, New York
Andrea Clingaman
358 W Jefferson St.
Frankfort, IN
Amy Harlib
212 W 22nd St Apt 2N
New York, NY
Andrew Cranston jr
265 South Rd
Holmes, NY
Denis Byrne
30 Cliff Road
Belle Terre, NY
The Re.Nancy Lane, Ph.D.
Bower Rd
Elmira, United States
Tawn Feeney
Little Lakes Sustainability Network
6198 Marrowback Rd
Conesus, NY