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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

Victoria Furio
37 Highland Avenue
Yonkers, NY
Sandra Salisbury
151 Sherwood Hill Rd.
Brewster, NY
David Alpert
358 W 121 St.
New York, New York
Mary Boite
5080 Purcell Rd.
Hemlock, NY
Joseph Quirk
147 Avenue A Apt 2R
New York, NY
Dan Logan
Howard Barker
141 CollyerRd., Box 113
Smithville Flats, New York
Michael Druhm
3 Lorie Lane
Bayport , NY
Susan Kelech
14526 Broadhaven Blvd
Orlando, FL
Sarah Caspar
retired US EPA REgionIII
525 Hopewell Rd, 525 Hopewell Rd.
Downingtown, PA
Amy Harlib
212 W 22nd St Apt 2N
New York., NY
David Lewis
PO Box 114 548 Liddington Hill Road
Harford, NY
Carol Williams
6386 Cleary Rd.
Livonia, NY
Nancy Huffman
21 Ringwood CtS.
Ithaca, New York
Earl Plate
268 Univeral Ave
Elmira, NY
Emily Clay
Honeoye Falls-Lima School
271 Mendon Ctr Rd
Honeoye Falls, NY
Olivia Vent
194 Miller Rd
Ithaca, NY
Eric Watkins
108 Texas Lane
Ithaca, NY
Kris Pixton
312 Bradley Corners Rd
Madison, CT
Michael Singer
Spencertown , NY
Susan Robinson
772 Bostwick Road
Ithaca, NY
Dianne Sefcik
194 Clickman Rd
Westerlo, NY
Karen Smith
3995 County Road 2
Burdett, NY
MargaretAnn Bowers
433 N Geneva St Apt#2
Ithaca, NY
Mary and Rev. Robert Reader
139 Old Minisink Trail
Goshen, NY
Pramilla Malick
Protect Orange County
Protect Orange County
264 Jacobs Rd
Westtown, NY
Stuart McCarty
PO Box 70
Tunnel, NY
Matthew McCarty
1420 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
Bridget Meeds
204 Center Street
Ithaca, New York
Donna Trast
Health care
124 Gina Ct
Hurley, New York
Jennifer McLain
115 Woodlea Rd.
Salt Point, NY
Jerone Gagliano
105 1st St
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Parkhurst
362 county route 51
Mexico, NY
Barbara Nussbaum
925 Mitchell Street, Apt. 1
Ithaca, NY
Debra Higbee-Sudyka
4750 SW Nash Avenue
Corvallis, or
Craig Stevens
Patriots From The Oil & Gas Shales
1527 Silver Creek Road
Montrose, PA
Mark Wenderlich
Keuka College
4129 Onnalinda Dr
Canandaigua , NY
Susan Crowell
Karen Peterson
116 Greenridge
Horseheads, NY
David Clemens
P.O.Box 276
Milton, PA.
Heather McCarty
1176 Trumbulls Corners Road
Newfield, NY
Karen Smith
3995 County Road 2
Burdett , NY
Patricia Viglietta
1583 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY
Bill Metzger
Brewing News
571 South Park Ave
Buffalo, NY
Mitchell Nellis
Maude Rith
PO Box 429
Etna, NY