REV

Fall 2015 Reportback

Things are always jumping at Sane Energy Project, but this past Fall season has been particularly active, with the successful campaign against Port Ambrose in full gear, the Resist AIM campaign taking off, plus so many events, rallies and forums! Here are some highlights:

We Won Port Ambrose!

We celebrated the Port Ambrose veto with all the allies who helped defeat the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas project. It was a sweet win after an intense two-year battle that included getting the NY City Council to pass a resolution against it, innumerable hearings, community meetings, rallies, press conferences, email and postcard campaigns– plus lots of work behind the scenes to win over electeds throughout Long Island and the rest of the state. This concerted, coalition effort was rewarded when Governor Cuomo vetoed the Port on November 12th, and then in December, the Long Beach City Council presented advocates with a proclamation on behalf of the local community. Such wins are so rare and treasured that Naomi Klein invited Co-Director Patrick Robbins to write an article about the experience on her blog, 

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The campaign leading up to the defeat ran hot and heavy from Labor Day on, rallying massive turnouts–from hearings on Long Island to street performances in front of a Broadway show where Governor Cuomo held a fundraiser.

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Once the veto window opened, we started a "countdown clock" outside the Governor's office, But because of the efforts of so many, the Governor only took 4 days to come to a decision to veto it.

 Resist AIM Launched

Sane Energy Project has supported the efforts of local organizers to lead a campaign of Creative Peaceful Resistance (CPR) against the construction of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline, since its approval by FERC over the objections of the  public, and the start of tree cutting. These efforts have involved hosting frontline residents at forums throughout Westchester and NYC; promoting their pledge to resist, facilitating art builds, media outreach, and organizing support teams for blockades. Co-Director, Kim Fraczek, was arrested with local advocates at the first blockade on November 9th. Because of Sane's alliances, there were even corresponding blockades using inflatables on the same day in Westchester and at the Paris COP 21 talks!

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We REVed it Up!

The statewide REV (Reforming the Energy Vision) has been a big focus for us this Fall: "Make REV R.E.A.L (Renewable, Equitable, Accountable and Local)" started with a banner for a joint Sierra Club/Sane rally, then became the clarion call for the Energy Democracy Alliance, of which Sane is a member (logo, below, courtesy of Sane's artistic powerhouse, Kim Fraczek). There was a packed house at the REV hearing at NYU on October 27th, calling on the Public Service Commission to stop supporting fracked gas and coal infrastructure and replace these polluters with offshore wind and solar.

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And there were so many other events!

We led off our new bi-weekly Sane Energy volunteer meetings with trainings for the Port Ambrose and REV hearings; we supported the Blued Trees art project; we presented the YOU ARE HERE map at Seneca Lake, we screened THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING and connected the global climate crisis to local fights with environmental justice speakers; and our Climate Rider, Lorna rode nearly 400 miles to stop climate change, and we threw her a big fun party!
(There was so much more that we can't fit in here, and that's why we encourage you to keep up with us daily on Facebook, where all the late-breaking news and events across the state are posted!) We so look forward to doing more great advocacy with you in 2016! If you would like to support the work we do, please click here!

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Mid-Year Reportback

It's been a productive first half of the year: We're excited about the success of City Council resolution #549 and the growing groundswell of opposition to Port Ambrose, as well as opportunities coming up with offshore wind, the REV process and the state energy plan. Here's a brief roundup of what we've been up to lately at Sane Energy Project: JUNE

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Sane Energy Co-Director Kim Fraczek was honored as a Climate Hero by the Human Impacts Institute, along with many of our heroes, such as Wendy Brawer of Greenmaps, at a gala at the French Consulate. Kim also recorded a session with Green Gotham that will air later this summer.
long beach PR JR SIgang clearwaterOutreach this month moved outdoors and out of the city: We hosted a Port Ambrose orientation at Patagonia, then hit the beaches to leaflet along the south shore of Long Island. We spread the word about infrastructure at Clearwater weekend with our friends fighting the Constitution and AIM pipelines. YOU ARE HERE presentations in Staten Island and Orange County covered a wide range of upstate issues as well as Port Ambrose.
EnergyPlan-Report-Card-bannerA group of allies presented NYSERDA with a report card even when they cancelled their public meeting on the state energy plan last minute. We returned a second time for the rescheduled hearing and are evaluating the now-released plan. Final report card forthcoming. We ended the month by co-hosting a roundtable on offshore wind with our friends from Citizen Action, bringing together more than three dozen folks from around the state to talk about how to support the development of a renewable energy industry that could benefit the entire state.

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MAY

Jane's Walk, an annual event by the Municipal Arts Society, kicked off the month. This year's walking tour was hosted by a variety of art and artists from the new Whitney museum, and ended at the back door of the museum, on top of the pipeline vault, in a tug of war between Spectra execs and Jane Jacobs herself.

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May 14th saw the passage of the NY City Council resolution against Port Ambrose that we all worked so hard for, as well as the introduction of the Indian Point resolution. Complete story here.

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 May also saw work begin on America's first offshore wind farm, the so-called "Rhode Island Project" (which will eventually supply wind power to both Long Island and New England). This pilot project is crucial to the development of wind power on the east coast.
map imageJosh Fox and Lee Ziesche's travelogue highlights a different map each week. The YOU ARE HERE map was featured as the Map of the Week in May. The map has 137 "dots;" with each dot opening a pop-up box that explains the infrastructure project at that site, and links to the local group fighting it. As Josh and Lee note, "We’ve toured to many of those dots and have seen the strength of the communities there." Stops along the tour that are points on the map: Seneca Lake, where Josh was recently arrested; Wawayanda, near Middletown, where they attended a rally against the CPV power plant; and in Schoharie County when the Solutions Tour highlighted the Constitution pipeline fight. As Lee says, "If these projects are allowed to continue, it’s game over for our planet–meaning whether there is an infrastructure dot over your house or not, we are all here."
lineWe made presentations about shale gas infrastructure to the Village Independent Democrats, the Hudson Guild, Rockaway Wildfire, and Sustainable Warwick. Our travels took us to Long Beach, Rockaway, and City Hall fighting Port Ambrose; to Tarrytown for the NRC Indian Point hearing, to Rosendale to work on the Pilgrim Pipeline; and to Syracuse to teach artivism. We took part in Surfriders' Hands Across the Sands event, which was focused on stopping Port Ambrose and offshore drilling.
Finally, over the Memorial Day weekend, to prep for the FERCUS rally, Kim led a team to paint a 50-foot banner  that was used to blockade FERC and is now touring the region with various activist actions. Click here to see the complete photo set of the FERCUS art build.

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APRIL

The month started with the City Council hearing on Port Ambrose where Sane Energy Project presented a 4-part power point. The Port Ambrose campaign continued with lots of postcard writing events, rallies, and a town hall presentation in Oceanside where a banner painted by local teens had its debut.

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We had a bird dog rally at Governor Cuomo's Harvard Club fundraiser on April 13th, demanding he veto Port Ambrose. The April 21st rally at his Manhattan office, part of the three-day Rising Tide action, was a huge success, with a Port Ambrose tanker squaring off against wind turbines. Co-Director Patrick Robbins was interviewed at the rally for Democracy Now.
wind 1boat4-13 sign4-13 crowd4-13 nypirg11066779_10100468952537162_6324048128389725377_n A lot of action was generated around the Spectra site in the West Village, where the opening of the new Whitney Museum was another chance to bring attention to the infrastructure build out in NYC and to what's at the other end of the pipe. Meanwhile, Clare Donohue demonstrated the YOU ARE HERE map in a webinar on fracktivist tools hosted by the Halt the Harm network.
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Kim helped Riverside Church prepare artwork for an Earth Day mass, and we took part in the Earth Day Fest at Union Square and at a City College improv performance.

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The month ended with the NECOS conference, bringing together climate and pipeline fighters to Massachusetts from all over the Northeast.

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MARCH

The tragic gas explosion in the East Village was a reminder how devastating any gas accident can be and why we should be rapidly replacing our city's aging infrastructure with renewable energy. Our statement on the explosion here.
Kim presented at both the Shale Justice Convergence and Shale Justice Spring Break in Pennsylvania, and was invited to lead an activist art forum at Pratt Institute. Patrick presented about Port Ambrose at the Island Park and Baldwin Civic Associations as well as the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Manhattan Young Democrats. And another YOU ARE HERE presentation went off in Spencer, NY. The press conference announcing the Port Ambrose resolution was covered by Newsday, the Long Island Herald, and NY1.
See the Reportback for January and February here, and the media round up for April through June here.

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Most photos by Erik McGregor

Winter Reportback and upcoming events!

As Spring starts to peak around the corner, we continue the focus on infrastructure that we've been kicking out all winter. Lately it's been all about the You Are Here shale gas map (click here for upcoming demonstrations of the map), and getting the word out to oppose Port Ambrose LNG (click here for upcoming community events). See our full reportback here, or check out the media clips below. CD LB slideFeb. 14: DeSmog Blog "We have always been primarily focused on making people understand that infrastructure is part of fracking, that fracking is not just high-volume drilling, and that mission continues. Now we shift to making people understand that we aren't “safe” from fracking as long as all the related effects of fracking still exist."

Feb. 4: Capitol NY "Patrick Robbins, with the clean energy advocacy group Sane Energy, asked state officials to ensure that 'low-income, front-line communities,' such as those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, have a voice in the R.E.V. He and several others also asked the state to set specific goals in terms of renewable power generation and greenhouse gas reductions. 'We have not heard specific targets for renewable energy,' he said. 'The climate crisis demands nothing less than full renewable energy. We need you to put us on the right path.' "

Feb. 2: NY Daily News  "Nervous residents at a Marble Hill apartment complex are signaling local officials to stop freight trains from idling on the Metro North tracks below. The activists have gotten even more worked up since the fall, when they spotted black cars carrying hazardous material called liquid petroleum gas on some of the trains."

Jan. 27: The Indypendent "When it comes to finding an alternative to heavy heating oils like No. 6 and No. 4, Donohue said that biodiesel was the best option, especially because researchers in the United States and Europe are developing ways to produce biofuel from plants like grass and algae, which do not need to be cultivated on land that’s suitable for growing food."

Jan. 16: Long Island Herald "Now, officials and a number of environmental groups, inlcuding Sane Energy, the Surfrider Foundation, All Our Energy and Clean Ocean Action, are calling on the U.S. Maritime Administration and U.S. Coast guard to deny Liberty's most recent application and urging Cuomo to veto it, saying that the terminal would hurt the environment, increase the region’s dependence on foreign fuel and create the potential for an offshore catastrophe or terrorist attacks."

PR at BaldwinDec. 19: The Wave  "Activist groups, New Yorkers Against Fracking and Sane Energy Project, have been making rounds to inform the coastal public—and everyone else for that matter—about the LNG and its potential dangers. Jessica Roff, of New Yorkers Against Fracking, and Patrick Robbins, of Sane Energy Project, hosted an informational meeting on the Port Ambrose project at the Macedonia Baptist Church in Arverne on Monday, Dec. 15. Robbins noted that the issue 'has particular resonance here when we think about who is impacted by global warming—I mean, that’s coastal communities.' ”

map imageDec. 31: DC Bureau  "Other projects are apt to continue drawing intense local opposition. They include Crestwood Midstream’s planned liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, storage project near Watkins Glen and the proposed Port Ambrose export terminal for liquified natural gas in the ocean off New York City. Here is a map that locates and describes more than 20 New York energy infrastructure projects: http://www.youareherenymap.org."

Dec. 21: Huffington Post  "The proceedings included a presentation by Clare Donohue, founding member of the Sane Energy Project. She spoke about energy issues throughout New York State, illustrated by a continually evolving map called You Are Here. The goal of the project is, 'To put a human face on the places at risk or already devastated by fracking infrastructure in New York.' "

Dec. 20: The Rockaway Times  "A Rockaway community information meeting was held on the latest metamorphosis on The Port Ambrose project. This meeting about the latest proposed LNG project, just off our shores, was moderated by Jessica Roff of New Yorkers Against Fracking and Patrick Robbins of Sane Energy Project. Each spelled out the same concerns that we faced several years ago when our community and surrounding communities banned together to voice our opposition to the LNG Island off our shores."

Dec 17: Grist “ 'Cuomo pointed out himself the relentless public pressure,' said Patrick Robbins, a spokesperson for the Sane Energy Project, a New York-based organization that promotes shifting from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. 'I also think it’s important to note the role of organizing at the local level—the commissioner mentioned many times the impact that local bans would have on the profit margins of this industry.' ”

The Importance of Understanding "Renewing the Energy Vision" (or, as we prefer it, WTF is REV?)

Here at Sane Energy Project, we're all about envisioning a future of, um, well, sane energy. Shortly, there will be public hearings held statewide on REV (Reforming the Energy Vision), an initiative that will determine our future energy choices, and it is crucial that we (the public) be well informed in our comments.

REVREV is a regulatory reform initiative sponsored by the PSC (Public Service Commission), the state-level agency that oversees energy policy. REV will affect all energy users in NYS. Here's what the PSC says about REV: "The Commission is considering a new business model for energy service providers where distributed energy resources becomes a primary tool in the planning and operation of the electric system."

Sound good? YEAH! "Distributed Energy Resources? Gee, that sounds like rooftop solar, wind farms, and community-based decision-making! Or does it mean lots of new gas power plants all over the place?

Here's what PSC say are their six policy objectives: 1) To enhance customer knowledge and tools to enable customers to manage their energy bills and provide them more choice* in how they use energy; 2) To animate the market** and leverage ratepayer contributions; 3) To promote system-wide efficiency;*** 4) to increase fuel and resource diversity;**** 5) to enhance system reliability and resiliency;***** 6) to reduce carbon emissions.******

Still sound good? Ummm . . . Ok, here's what they say next: 

"The REV regulatory proceeding involves two tracks. The first track, which has been the subject of two publicly held technical conferences and one publicly held symposium, and now the subject of the public statement hearings, explores the role of distribution utilities in enabling system-wide efficiencies and market-based deployment of DER (Distributed Energy Resources) and load management. The first track will also consider the role of the incumbent electric utilities and whether they should serve as the Distributed System Platform (DSP) provider, the entity that will manage and coordinate DER, as well as wholesale market issues and opportunities for customer engagement. The second track will address the regulatory changes and ratemaking issues that will be necessary to implement the REV vision."

Got that? Yeah, neither do we.

Seeking further enlightenment? Don't look here (The PSC's web page about REV). Hmmm. A public agency requesting public input about obscure regulations presented in an utterly opaque way--what does this remind us of??? (Hint: FERC?)

Happily, there are two opportunities to have this information translated into layperson's terms: A briefing call will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 28th at 8pm. Call: 302-202-1108, Conference Code: 999246. Additionally, an in-person briefing will take place as a prelude to the regular NYC Grassroots Alliance meeting on February 2nd (the night before the NYC hearing). Click here for details. Can't make it to either briefing? Check out this online resource from our friends at AGREE.

For details about the NYC hearing on February 3rd, please click here for the afternoon session and here for the evening session. We hope to see you there!

 

* PS: Call us cynical, but we have a vague memory of  "more choice" being the catch phrase used to sell everything from utility deregulation to health care.
**PPS:"Animate the market?" You mean, make it attractive for investment in infrastructure? Are we talking offshore wind or pipelines here?
***PPPS: "System-wide efficiency? That could be storage systems for solar energy, or it could be networking gas pipelines (see "diversity of supply). 
**** Oh F*** it; we're out of PS's! In case it wasn't obvious, whenever the phrase, " fuel diversity" is used, cue the nukes and frackers. Beware the call for more gas-fired power plants to "benefit ratepayers." 
***** "System reliability and resiliency:" In our dreams this means that no terrorist could take down the entire Northeast by cyber-flipping the wrong switch and that we'd have enough rooftop solar in place to be back up and running after the next Sandy. Is that what PSC means?
******What about METHANE emissions?