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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

Carolyn Clark Pierson
5262 County Highway 14
Treadwell, NY
Elizabeth Wilson
1000A Dana Rd
Barre, Ma
Erika Myers
Protect Orange County
Box 247
Slate Hill, New York
Wayne Stinson
108 Southmeadow Dr
Summit, NY
Peg Schadt
165 Myrtle Ave
Johnson City, NY
Richard Driscoll
Newfield, NY - New York
Kathleen Wilcox
307 First St.
Ithaca, NY
Megan Johnston
916 hector street
Ithaca , New York
Emily R. Oprea
12820 Benton Road
Sardinia, New York
Julia Walsh
705 Henry Williams Rd
Roxbury, NY
J E Delman
Red Hook, NY
Tom Seaney
Dewitt Park Inn
67 Marsh Rd
Ithaca, NY
emily smith
76 Quaker HIll Drive
croton on hudson, new york
Nancy Reynolds
405 Hattie Clark Road
Greene, NY
Manna Jo Greene
Environmental Director
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
724 Wolcott Ave.
Beacon, New York
Christine Macpherson
Complete It Cuomo
1202 Burden Lake Road
Averill Park, NY
lynda schneekloth
Westesrn New York Environmental Alliance
601 w ferry street
buffalo, ny
Martha Bremer
498 County Hwy 5
Otego, NY
Judith Fitzgerald
560 West 218th St. #6A
New York, NY
Mary Berrigan
113 village green ct
Warwick, N Y
veronica sherman
24 bobolink lane
salt point, new york
David LoParco
2604 Carson Rd.
Cortland, New York
Stephen Keast
PO Box 105
Slaterville Springs, NY
Wendy Millroy
PO Box 94
Brooktondale, NY
steven foster
Prof. Emeritus
3906 Chatham Lane
Canandaigua, New York
Marie LoParco
PO Box 163
Cortland, NY
yvonne Fisher
107 Cascadilla Street
Ithaca, New York
Lee Bailey
700 Warren Rd
Ithaca, NY
Nina Wickett
4829 Limeledge Rd
Marcellus, NY
1219 ROUTE 83
Naomi Miller
TriStates Unite for Safe Energy
24 Blake Lane
Middletown, NY
Erin Heaton Meyer
Vice Chair
Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy (C-CARE)
510 County Road 31
Norwich, NY
Stephen Engleman
125 Valley View Rd
Ithaca, NY
David DeVivo
15 New England Dr.
Rochester, New York
Melissa Stephenson
77 Peruville Road
Lansing, NY
Michael Bucci
Project Coordinator
Deep Green Resistance New York City
451 West 48 Street
NEW YORK, New York
Teresa A Dearing
23 Cottage St
Dansville, NY
Diana Hird
63 Horton Road
Cold Spring, New York
Theresa Capozzola
57 Gilbert Road
Saratoga Springs , NY
Sally Crow
214 McBerney Rd
Greene, New York
Julia Dalton
101 West 80th St
New York, NY
Robert Howarth
4124 Reynolds Road
Trumansburg, NY
Cynthia Chase
Professor of English
Cornell University
909 Wyckoff Rd
Ithaca, NY
Philip Podmore
26 Onderdonk road
Warwick, Ny
Bridget Leicester
100 La Salle Street, Apt. 18E
New York, NY
thomas marion
85 mountaintop lane
deposit, ny
Melanie Gold
53 Lake Trail
Greenwood Lake, New York
Alexandra Williams
11 horizon dr
Saratoga springs, Ny
Merrill Piera
736 Sundown Road
Sundown, New York
Lisa Sanfilippo
1108 N Cayuga St
Ithaca, NY