On Monday May 14, Governor Andrew Cuomo was the keynote speaker at the New York League of Conservation Voters’ (NYLCV) 2018 Gala. As reported on by LittleSis, employees of Millennium, a company building a fracked gas pipeline in New York, are on the NYLCV board, and the organization has received substantial funding from other fossil fuel companies like Williams, which is also proposing to build a fracked gas pipeline through NY Harbor.
That’s it, we’re storming the castle. On April 23, thousands of New Yorkers are showing up at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s front door in Albany to demand genuine action on climate change. We’re not going to bus up just to go “rah-rah-rah” on the steps of the statehouse for the press and going home. We have three specific demands: halt of all fracking infrastructure now, a just transition to 100 percent renewables, and make corporate polluters pay into a transition fund.
Last week, New Yorkers from Orange County fighting to stop the massive CPV fracked gas power plant had a tough decision to make.
Should they go to the court hearing that could decide the fate of the pipeline that will deliver fracked gas to the plant?
Or should they go to the corruption trial of Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Competitive Power Ventures, the company building the plant in Waywayanda, New York.
For over a year, through the cold and heat, the citizens of Orange County have held weekly pickets outside the construction site of a massive fracked gas power plant being built in their community.
The CPV fracked gas power plant will emit 700 tons of known carcinogens, neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors each year and will increase demand for fracking in neighboring Pennsylvania.
Scott Martens, a father of two young children from Middletown, saw folks protesting outside the construction site, stopped by and has been involved in the fight to stop CPV ever since.
Accepting Sponsorship = Endorsement
“There is nothing we will advertise that does not align with our principles….We have actively rejected advertising and sponsorship in the past because when it doesn’t feel right, it’s just not right.” And then some minutes later came the statement that tipped me over the edge from public observer to enraged questioner - “As long as support falls under our criteria, we aim to be balanced and not demonstrate being skewed an a topic.
Right now, as you read this, there’s an incredibly dangerous transition happening in the United States. And it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
Well, it didn’t start with him at least.
In a disastrous move for the climate, instead of transitioning directly from coal-fired power plants as the main source of energy generation to 100% renewable energy, the United State is building a fracked gas ‘bridge’. This ‘bridge’ requires millions of fracked wells and building thousands of miles of pipelines and some 300+ fracked gas power plants.
Sane Energy Project gathered allies in the WinWindNY coalition to make a 60-second Public Service Announcement about Offshore Wind for New York to help educate our communities that wind is here, and if we work together, we can make the renewable economy include our community values.
Click > HERE < to watch and share this fun video.
As mentioned in this weeks famous Sane Energy Project newsletter, join us on August 14th, 15th and 16th, as New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) hosts three New York City based open houses to show us their work process and answer questions about the offshore wind development off the coast of NYC
Rockaway Beach info HERE with a pre-rally and press conference to kickoff the three days of wind!
Staten Island info HERE
Coney Island info HERE
Almost two years ago, all of us working together defeated the possibility of liquefied natural/fracked gas (Port Ambrose L.N.G.) off our New York City/Long Island shores in a spot slated for energy development. Sane Energy Project ran on a platform of WIND NOT LNG, and together, we WON! Now we are working hard to make sure that the renewable generation that is coming onto our grid is developed responsibility with ethics before profit. We know a way to assure this, is by working with a strong coalition of communities and organizations to work toward "Community Benefit Agreements" in any contract that is signed between New York State and the wind developer.
Here's the scoop on offshore wind for New York State scroll down to view or click > HERE < to view and download our presentation.
The team at Sane Energy Project was not shocked to receive the news of the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Climate Accord. The behavior of the Trump administration follows a pattern in which the fortunes of a few in power are valued more than the health, safety and long-term economic health of the rest of us.
Following the announcement, our nation responded: numbers of governors, mayors, academics, and businesses vowed to abide by the the Paris Climate Accord and stand with the almost 200 nations that signed onto it, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, foster adaptation and mitigate climate impacts. We are pleased Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio’s decision to adhere to the accord and to make New York State and New York City a powerful example and a beacon of hope for the rest of the country. Now is our time to hold them to this decision. Scroll down for five action steps.
For our part, Sane Energy Project vows to continue our work at the state and local level, recognizing that our choices here resonate with those who are suffering the brunt of climate impacts around the world. We will push to correct the cognitive dissonance of policy makers who talk about lowering emissions while promoting the use of fossil and nuclear fuels. We will continue opposing the development of fracked gas and oil infrastructure, and we will push for a rapid conversion to equitable, renewable energy, especially offshore wind, through policy initiatives, education and direct action.
We will continue to fight for a place at the table for citizens to have a say in energy decisions that affect our lives and livelihoods. We will continue to build a world that values the health and safety for all we share this small planet with.
Please join us by taking these five actions today:
- Time Sensitive: Urge Governor Cuomo to appoint a People’s Public Service Commissioner to prevent big utilities and corporations from trumping our people power. tinyurl.com/PeoplesPSC
- Time Sensitive: Call your senators to halt Trump’s FERC nominations. www.beyondextremeenergy.org
- Planned Campaign: Call on Governor Cuomo to power Albany’s Empire State Plaza, home to our state legislature, with renewable energy, not fracked gas. tinyurl.com/nogasinrev
- Planned Campaign: Join the People’s Offshore Wind Task Force to build a just transition to the renewable economy. Link HERE
- Planned Campaign: Share your story, and others’ stories, to demonstrate to elected officials the dangers of fracked gas infrastructure in NY, PA and soon to be added NJ. Contact email@example.com for more info www.youareheremap.org
The People United Will Never Be Defeated.
Love, Kim, Monica and the team at Sane Energy Project.
Written by guest blogger Gary Skulnik www.OurPower.Solar
As New York grapples with the future of *distributed energy, especially solar, the state is at a major crossroads that could decide whether it embraces a clean and equitable future, or if it sets the table for only the large players to sit. A recent solar conference in Brooklyn, solidified my thinking on which direction the state is choosing – letting the big guys run the show. The panel in the morning session on NY State project issues featured only big players. Not a single small player made it. The common theme among the panelists was how opaque and difficult the interconnection process, permitting, and property tax issues are for solar projects. Large companies, with the resources to deploy (person hours and money) can handle these complexities and road blocks. Small companies cannot.
The new “Value of Distributed Energy Resources” (VDER) pricing for solar has a lot of positive attributes, such as trying to direct projects where they are needed most, but does not address the disparity between large and small projects. Yes, from a climate change and grid perspective, the more solar the better and that means big projects, which are cheaper bring a lot of benefits. However, if we are to truly avoid disastrous climate change, create jobs, and produce a more equitable society, we need to have small projects peppered around the state. Think about it. Small projects on the local church, community center, or civic building do more than produce clean energy. They create a stronger sense of community, build a broader constituency for a clean environment, and help contribute to hard-hit towns across the state. Consumers will keep their energy dollars local, help create local jobs, and support the growth of small homegrown solar companies across the state. Finally, incentivizing small projects is the right thing to do. Climate change impacts everyone, but it hurts economically depressed communities even more. Everyone deserves to reap the benefits of climate change solutions.
To its credit, NY state leaders see this problem and are working to address it, but they need to do more and do it faster. They need to come up with a carve-out for small projects that would get greater incentives and help with regulatory red tape. This would make our state’s new community shared solar program a win-win for everybody, the way it’s supposed to be.
Addendum by Sane Energy Project:
*Power generation at the point of consumption. Generating power on-site, rather than centrally, like a big power plant, eliminates the cost, complexity, interdependencies, and inefficiencies associated with transmission and distribution. Decentralized energy is generated or stored by a variety of small, grid-connected devices referred to as distributed energy resources (DER)
To TAKE ACTION on promoting community-shared renewables in New York State, join our statewide alliance in calling on Governor Cuomo to appoint People’s Commissioners to the Public Service Commission who will protect New Yorkers and the Environment.
Welcome to Sane Energy Project! We are a New York based organization working toward a sane energy future that includes shutting down fossil fuel infrastructure and building a just transition toward renewable energy. Please explore our website tabs above for more in-depth information about us, our work, resources and action steps – and scroll down for recent blog posts!
By now, it's an old story: A pipeline company says they *just* want to build a simple gas pipeline. Then later they want to add a compressor station. Just one they say. Then there's a proposal for a power plant. And another compressor. Then a larger pipeline. This story has played out across Pennsylvania and New York State, with the result being broken dreams, devalued property values, assaults on human and animal health, and the destruction of eco-systems, wildlife preserves, and farming communities, turning them into industrial zones. The Eldred compressor is a new project that Millennium expected to roll over a rural upstate community, but that community organized in record time, and is saying, "Not so fast." SCRAM (Sullivan Country Residents Against Millennium) has quickly geared up for a big fight, hosting local forums and warning locals of the toxic effects of compressors.
THE BAD NEWS:
Millennium Pipeline Co. has purchased 80 acres from the Eldred Preserve (Town of Highland) in western Sullivan County, for a new proposed compressor station. This site was a hunting club that leased to drillers early on, but the town passed an ordinance that prevented drilling (and then the statewide ban happened). Now, the local ordinance – and local community resistance – will be tested by this interstate pipeline, and the usual FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) steamroller.
This compressor is connected not just to the Millennium pipeline but to the CPV Valley power plant, the Valley Lateral pipeline (which would connect Millennium and CPV) and the Hancock compressor, where they plan to add a second compressor, plus additional work at Ramapo. Together, these changes are part of the Eastern System Upgrade, a new name for an illegally segmented project that began with the Minisink compressor.
If Eldred is built, that would make four compressors within 60 miles, which far exceeds the industry standard, and is indicative of future plans (not yet public) to expand their system further. They could be planning to loop the line (add a second parallel pipeline in same right-of-way) or connect additional future pipelines, and almost certainly will want to add later compressor stations or power plants (as is typical of recent trends).
Based on their stated in-service date of Fall 2018, they were clearly hoping to ram this through what they expected to be a sleepy rural area. However – true to the area's history as the incubator of the early anti-fracking movement – that has not been the case.
THE GOOD NEWS:
• It may be rural and underpopulated in the region but there is an already activated anti-fracking community, plus a nascent farm-to-table community, with the popular Callicoon Farmer’s market, a growing weekender population, and chefs opening new restaurants.
• Millennium can’t get building permits unless FERC overrules the local ordinance (which of course they will, but that is expected to bring a lawsuit). It will become a legal test of local ordinances that could shine the light of public attention on the project.
• In order for the Valley Lateral pipeline to get going, Millennium needs to clear trees by the end of March (or hold until Fall). State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already issued a letter to FERC, objecting to the tree cutting.
• Scandal surrounds the CPV project: the CEO is under indictment and they are already bogged down in lawsuits. Millennium and CPV are suing the state Department of Environmental Conservation, saying they are taking too much time with 401 Water Quality permit for the Valley Lateral pipe.
• Without these compressors / compressor upgrades and the Valley Lateral pipeline, the massively polluting CPV power plant (currently under construction) would be starved for gas. This is a project with far-reaching impact; if it can be stopped, it could prevent a host of other future compressors, power plants, pipelines.
The local activists are waiting to hear if the project will be ok'd for the less stringent EA (Environmental Assessment) or the more thorough EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). Once that decision is issued, there'll be hearings, forums and actions. We'll be sure to update our subscribers whenever there is additional news. (Subscribe at the link on upper right-hand side of this website.)
It sorta seemed like the last few months of 2016 at Sane Energy Project were a whirlwind of fighting the bad stuff (Spectra's "AIM" Pipeline among the plethora of other interconnected battles) and pushing to bring on the good stuff (Offshore Wind Power to New York's electrical grid and Energy Democracy). So much action and energy happened, news changed almost daily that it was hard to give a comprehensive update.
But here we are, just past December 21st, the day marked as the "beginning of light", the bright days will start getting longer, we are in a place to rest, rejuvenate, seek clarity and give a comprehensive update.
First, The Spectra Pipeline, and scroll down for the NY Offshore Wind update and action steps!
First, The Spectra Pipeline. What's the story?
We have had many friends and allies call, email and text us "What is going on?! Has Spectra turned the gas on?"
Here's the skinny: Not as of December 23rd 2016, almost two months behind schedule, but they are getting ready to ask the corrupt FERC to give them the green-light. However, there is more to it. If they do turn the gas on, say, next week, we have to remember this is only ONE small part of a GIANT pipeline EXPANSION project that they have illegally segmented into three false projects. Our work is just beginning to stop Spectra Energy's abuse of our democracy, health and safety. We started a petition to Governor Cuomo to prevent Spectra from getting the Water Quality Certificates for their 2nd segment.
Sign it, Share it! tinyurl.com/CuomoStopSpectraPipeline
- A quick recap:
The Spectra AIM (Algonquin Incremental Market -- yes, it's shameful they
continue to use the name Algonquin insulting our indigenous friends) is a massive fracked gas transmission system expansion from the shale fields of the Marcellus in PA and OH to transport gas up and out of the U.S. via Canada. They claim that it is for domestic use, but except for few heavy polluting gas-fired power plants they are building in order to pass the cost of building the pipelines onto the rate-payers (that's you and me!), the gas is intended for export where European markets will pay 6-10 times more for our fracked gas. Even the entire state of Massachusetts has called out Spectra for 1. Not needing the gas when Spectra claims it's for New England (read white paper report HERE by their Attorney General) and 2. Saying NO to their scam to try and pass the costs of building the pipeline onto the local rate-payers (read MA Supreme Court decision HERE)
- How do we know this is their plan, and why is it important to knowing what's going on presently?
Plain and simple, they tell us directly while playing their day-to-day public relations as if they are separate projects. Clearly, we know they have zero respect for the public, but to also underestimate our intelligence to comprehend a two-headed monster in our communities? AIM, Atlantic Bridge and Access Northeast are three parts to one pipeline expansion that names exactly their goal: To get the gas out of the Maritimes in Canada. And that doesn’t bode well with other capitalists based in Canada looking to sell to the US market. Even the industry reports tell us that Spectra's plan to reverse the flow of their existing pipeline that they are expanding under the guise of this triple-threat that will export out of the USA is getting a furious reception from Respol, a large Spanish oil company with Canadian projects on the same pipeline route.
We must not allow Spectra Energy to dupe the public into thinking this is three separate projects. This is all one pipeline disguised as three projects to avoid addressing Cumulative Impact studies and statements. See HERE a video from local resident, Nancy Vann, standing on a street in Yorktown, NY explaining how Spectra claims AIM and Atlantic Bridge are two separate projects.
- Why should we stay engaged? How can we win?
We cannot allow our organizing against Spectra to be fractured either. So, let's refrain from thinking that we lost because we may have lost the AIM fight (and it is still not live as of today, and there is still a pending lawsuit to reverse the FERC approval of the AIM portion of the pipeline led by the City of Boston that has not been heard in court yet). We may have lost a battle, but here are the great things we have accomplished in the past five years in the bigger war with Spectra Energy:
- Recognized cradle to grave infrastructure as the problem in the fight on fracking when Spectra came to NYC
- Identified FERC as a common target
- Learned how to strategize and organize with our regional allies fighting Dominion, Millennium/CPV, Northern Access, Sunoco Logistics and HEAPS of other groups who contributed information to the You Are Here map
- Noted the next leg of expansion after NYC was AIM, supported and shared info with new local resistance groups like FANG, SAPE, ResistSpectra, Resist the West Roxbury Lateral, Earth Guardians...
- Carry on the work with educating about Methane and Climate Change links (see recent scientific Methane press conference with leading NY experts HERE from our friends at People, Not Pipelines and Other Voices, Other Choices)
Second What’s Up With The Wind Farms?
- One wind farm is out in Eastern Long Island near the Hamptons 90MW Info HERE
- The other wind farm is off the coast of the Rockaways/LongBeach 750MW (that's right! exactly where Port Ambrose LNG Port was proposed, and we beat!) Info HERE
ACTION STEPS TO WINWINDNY!
First, We ROCKED the house at the last Long Island Power Authority public meeting on December 20th, where we stood with many members of labor and the environment to send a CLEAR and direct message to Governor Cuomo that WE WANT WIND!
We will be back on January 25th 2017 to support and hopefully pop the champagne when LIPA approves this Eastern Long Island project. We need renewables, and we need them NOW! JOIN US! Details to come.
Sane Energy Project, as usual, promises a vibrant FUN campaign to do two things:
- Make sure Governor Cuomo makes a FIRM commitment to developing 5000MW of Offshore Wind Power for the State of New York making sure we are a vibrant, local industry hub for the lead int he renewable economy!
- We don't want just megawatts in the water! NO! We want to do this right! And that is where our activism comes in. Sane Energy Project knows we have vibrant and growing support from labor and wildlife advocates, and our work is to make sure this renewable generation leads a transition of JUSTICE and benefits rate-payers, particularly low-income rate-payers who typically are burdened with high energy bills and dirty generation planted in their biospheres.
We know that Statoil won the lease last week to develop wind power in the Rockaway location. We originally were suspecting that a NYSERDA/DeepwaterWind partnership was going to secure the lease, but the bidding process went on for nearly TWO days, with Statoil securing the are for $45million. Sigh, capitalism.
So, this doesn't change our work, except we knew that we knew the players with NYSERDA and Deepwater. Deepwater just completed the USA's first Offshore Wind Pilot Project in Rhode Island using local, union labor and completely stopped construction during whale migration. They honor the community values we ask for. So we just have to build the base (just like we did to stop fracking in NY, stop Port Ambrose, Stop Constitution, Stop Shell's Water Withdrawal in Painted Post... pssst, we have got the POWER!) and make sure Statoil comes to our table and honors our community values.
Are you IN?
See you at the next Sane Energy Project All Star Meeting, January 10th at 72 Greene St. @ Patagonia SoHo 2nd Floor Environmental Co-Working Space! And let's get to work!