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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

Michael Millow
Caton, NY
Nick Cohen
Professor Emeritus of Microbiology & Immunology
7289 Ludlow Drive
Canandaigua, NY
William Kaufman
3406 Jackson Rd.
Binghamton, NY
Mary Smith
Communications Coordinator
Church Women United
2001 S Clinton Ave
Rochester, NY
Kristen Reilly
21 Cheltenham Dr
Buffalo, New York
Francis LaLuna
4217 Oakhurst Circle East
Sarasota, FL
Howard Watler
436 County Route 93
Slate Hill, NY
Eric Larson
415 Elm St
Ithaca, NY
Matthew Hogan
115 East 1st St
Corning, ny
professor emeritus
cornell university
298 bald hill road
brooktondale, NY
Joanne Corey
Vestal Residents for Safe Energy (VeRSE)
209 Lewis St
Vestal , NY
David Sibley
2 Dove Drive
Ithaca, NY
Susan Sarabasha
311 Tupper Rd
W Danby, NY
Ann Schauman
1206 Nolan Road
Macedon, NY
Jim Rauch
Buffalo, NY
Lindsay Speer
Creating Change Consulting
162 Cambridge Street
Syracuse , New York
judith ackermannm
636 west end av
nyc, ny
Judith Fletcher
Coordinator and Founder
MUSE (Musicians United to Save the Environment)
525 W. 238th St. Apt. A1
Bronx, New York
Tracy Malloy-Curtis
38 Wheeler Avenue
Warwick, NY
Leslie Kurzweil
2250 N. Triphammer Rd. K-3B
Ithaca, NY
Daniel Pagano
170 Second Ave
Walter Ditman
35-36 80th St., #32
Jackson Heights, NY
gwen & milt Schaffer & Mesirow
11 little brooklyn rd.
Warwick, New York
Cathy McNulty
Lilac Hill Farm
464 Vandervort Hill Rd
Unadilla, NY
Inese Leimanis
2805 LaFayette Rd.
LaFayette, New York
Janis Leimanis
2805 LaFayette Rd.
LaFayette, NY
AR Leimanis
206 Astor Ct
Delmar, NY
Andra Leimanis
921 Maryland Ave
Syracuse, New York
Ellen Cantarow
158-18 Riverside Drive West
New York, NY
shyama Orum
305 west 28 Street #16E
New York, ny
Marie McRae
Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition
710 Irish Settlement Rd
Freeville, NY
C.J. Randall
309 W Green St #1
Ithaca, NY
Eric Feinstein
214 Van Ostrand Road
Newfield, NY
Joan Spielholz
Temple Beth El Social Action Committee
101 Orchard Place
Ithaca, New York
Kevin Mayer
WRFI Community Radio
47 Cobb St
Groton, NY
joseph kotula
franciscan mountain retreat
3621 roberts rd
westclarksville, New York
annie campbell
33 Cayuga St.
trumansburg, New York
Ann Boehm
280 Speed Hill Road
Brooktondale, NY
Louise Henrie
417 Second Street
Ithaca, NY
Lazarus Boutis
P.O. Box 222
Livingston Manor, NY
Kurt Griese
164 Greeves Rd.
New Hampton, NY
Howard Weinblatt
2684 Kenyonville Rd.
Albion, NY
Dennis Turechek
392 Hathaway Road
Otego, New York
James Cromwell
Protect Orange County
27 Hedges Rd.
Warwick, New York
Sarah Parker
308 lincoln Road
Brooklyn, New York
Jean Hricik
445 Smith-Kingsman Rd.
McDonough, NY
Marybeth Carlberg
783 Franklin St.
Skaneateles, Ny
nancy siegele
543 Elm St.
Ithaca, NY
Neil Freson
26 Bitternell Lane
Henrietta, NY