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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

Anne Hutchinson
10 Bayberry Court
East Greenbush, New York
Tom Geilfuss
8700 N. Point Dr.
Fox Point, WI
Barbara Koslowski
18 Renwick Heights Road
Ithaca, NY
Bonnie Gaspar
535 Ridgebury Rd.
Slate Hill, New York
Tanya Marvinney
125 Monahan Rd.
Port Jervis, NY
brian kuebel
85 weston road
rochester, new york
Cameron Brown
39 Rosman Road
Theills, NY
Russel Oliver
PO Box 73
Kerhonkson, NY
David Stout
Life Member
354 Lakside Rd
Angola, NY
Tanya Laurer
86 Brimstone Mtn Rd
Chester, NY
Peter Specker
611 N Aurora St
ithaca, New York
Harold KOster
7604 NY RT 79
Whitney Point, NY
Nicholas Prychodko
PO Box 2138
Bridgehampton, NY
Deborah Harper
77 Peruville Rd
Lansing, NY
Stanley Scharf
214 s. Hill Terraca
Ithaca, NY
Eric Schambach
604 grand
brooklyn, ny
Henry Buser
217 Rogers St.
Ulster Park, N.Y.
Ellen and Oskar Schmidt
8 Gennung Circle
Ithaca, NY
Tonia Simon
1337 Afton Lake Road
Afton, New York
Robin Schmidt
39-45 51st St.
Woodside, NY
Elizabeth Gottlieb Karpienia
Full Circle Dance and Pilates
117 Jogee Road
Middletown, New York
Lisa Montanus
105 Cardinal Court
Woodstock, NY
Candace and Chris Stoscheck
141 Albee Hill Road
Van Etten, NY
Paula MacDonald
PO Box 294
Narrowsburg, NY
Peggy Bartels
Concerned citizens of Oneida County
6927 Valley View Rd.
Clinton, New York
Carolyn Fellman
15 Park St.
Moravia, NY
Art Holmberg
Sustainable Saratoga
21 Summerfield Lane
Saratoga Springs, New York
Susan Andrews
15 Park St.
Moravia, NY
Althea Farrell
2071 County Hwy 39
Worcester, NY
Diane Pell
Joan Schumaker
Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway
2050c Paine Road
Dalton, NY
Madeline Shaw
696 Ridgebury Rd
Slate Hill, NY
Mildred Gittinger
1197 S Country Clb DR
Niskayuna, NY
Gayle Gray
1854 Ellis Hollow Road
Ithaca, NY
Ann Kozak
219 Pennsylvania Ave., #1
Hancock, New York
Marlene Barken
Associate Professor of Legal Studies
Ithaca College
125 Genung Circle
Ithaca, New York
Yvonne Taylor
Vice Presiden
Gas Free Seneca
P.O. Box 333
Watkins Glen , NEW YORK
David Barken
125 Genung Circle
Ithaca, NY
Joseph Campbell
Seneca Lake Guardian, A Waterkeeper Affiliate
PO Box 333
Watkins Glen , NEW YORK
James and Connie Turner
408 Robin Ln
Vestal, New York
Susan Mead
219 W Lincoln
Ithaca, NY
Alexia Weidler
631 East 11th street, apt 26
New York, New York
Deborah Jones
3166 Perry City Rd.
Trumansburg, New York
Joanne Barken
101 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, New York
Mary Finneran
104 Jerome Ave.
Cairo, NY
Ingrid Guiter
1430 County Highway 8
Otego, NY
Carla Sullivan
Concerned Citizens of Rural Broome
22 Lewis St., Box 205
Maine, NY
Melanie Steinberg
302 Clinton Street
Penn Yan, NY
Frederick Barken
125 Genung Circle
Ithaca, Ny
Sarah Gagnon
2353 Spencer Road
West Danby, NY