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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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Final Port Ambrose Public Hearings Begin Tonight

This is it–Today begins the final phase of the review of Port Ambrose LNG. In case you missed any of the newsletters, facebook posts, or events building up to these hearings that have been happening over the last several months, below is a handy round up of the info you need to respond. We've also included a photo album of just a FRACTION of the effort that has gone into stopping this project over the past two years. Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all the thousands of volunteers who have taken part in the rallies, art builds, postcard campaigns, petition drives, beach leafletting, community meetings and more, and to the elected officials who have shown leadership on this issue. It ain't over yet, we have until December 21st to get a veto on this, so stay tuned for what comes next after the hearings!

The New York hearings are tonight and tomorrow night, Nov. 2nd and 3rd, in Long Beach, NY, from 6-10pm each night. Long Beach is easily accessible by public transport and there are buses leaving Manhattan later today as well.

Click here for a summary of all the transportation, talking point and other hearing details. Don't forget to pick up a handful of our new postcards to mail to Governor Cuomo, because his 45-day window to veto this project begins Friday, Nov. 6th, and we'll be keeping up the drumbeat after the hearings, including vigils in front of his NYC office. Please check in at our Facebook page for the late-breaking news and announcements, and for photos from the hearings. We'll see you there!

kim  Public Hearing on Port Ambrose LNG Project - Anti LNG Speakers sane insane  richards swanston Public Hearing on Port Ambrose LNG Project - Anti LNG Press Conference  News 12 safe not  postcards postcards  dave doll  4-13 nypirg    Public Hearing on Port Ambrose LNG Project - Anti LNG Press Conference  KPC US  boat  4-13 crowd  kim US  line  ann cori  ling  LI Herald  comment PA LB Public Hearing on Port Ambrose LNG Project - Anti LNG Press Conference  patrick george  rosenthal  hoylman  3-16 presser  pan city hall

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FERC Review of NED Pipeline Begins

Scoping meetings for the 5-state NED (Northeast Energy Direct) pipeline by Kinder Morgan/TGP have been announced. These are the first of several more hearings that will take place over the course of the review. Click here for dates, locations and suggestions for filing comments at this stage of the review.  To view an interactive map of this pipeline please click here. For more information about the project click here. For information about the track record of the builder and the reviewing agency, click here.  For an overview of other proposed shale gas projects in New York State, click here. SS constitution

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

NY City Council Acts on Two Resolutions: Port Ambrose and Indian Point

reso passingCONGRATULATIONS! On Thursday, May 14, 2015, after months of grassroots campaigning, calling and nudging by advocates, the NY City Council unanimously passed Resolution 549, sponsored by Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, Donovan Richards, calling on Governor Cuomo to veto Port Ambrose. At the time of the oral vote, which had no dissenting or abstaining votes, there were 32 co-signers, who are listed here.

 

Thank you to everyone who has tirelessly engaged on this campaign, we are making real progress! And there's good news on many legislative fronts:

At the same Council meeting, a resolution demanding the closure of Indian Point, also sponsored by Chair Richards, was introduced.

These resolutions, while legally non-binding, should have a strong influence on both Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio in deciding policy, especially when taken together. The City Council and the Mayor already agree on a plan to reduce the city's greenhouse gases 80% by 2050. These two resolutions, along with recent legislation being considered and passed, such as the new air quality regulations and the "Lights Out" bill, as well as solar rooftop initiatives, signal a real commitment to seeing that goal achieved. This is the kind of progressive action we need if we are to impact climate change at all, and it's a marked difference from the prior administration.

What happens next? With Port Ambrose, we are using the current "clock stopped" moment to continue organizing and widening the circle of awareness. The 45-day window when the adjacent governors have the opportunity to veto Port Ambrose won't open until the final Environmental Impact Statement is released and the final public hearing happens. That could occur any moment now but it may be weeks away (the last time the "clock" was stopped several months went by). The governor needs to see a big engagement from his NYC and Long Island base, so we'll want to follow up this resolution with events that make visible the opposition to Port Ambrose, such as the Hands Across the Sand action in Long Beach on Saturday. Please join us and stay engaged by connecting with us on Facebook and via our newsletter. (Subscribe to the newsletter by clicking the link in the right-hand column to "follow" this blog.)

We'll support our friends and advocates on the Indian Point resolution as they now campaign for co-signers on that initiative. Despite the recent fire, and the approval of the AIM pipeline in close proximity to the nuclear plant, both of which served as a reminder to how vulnerable NYC is to accidents at this aged and partially unlicensed facility, this reso faces a tougher battle for passage. Stay tuned for updates.

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Port Ambrose Reso is Out of Committee!

April 1 crMOMENTS AGO, Resolution 549, asking Governor Cuomo to veto Port Ambrose, passed in a vote held by the NY City Council Committee on Environmental Protection. That means it will now go to a floor vote at Thursday's main City Council meeting! We're up to 30 cosigners now! Well ahead of the 26 signers needed to pass the measure, but can we get that number even higher? Please join us at City Hall Park at 12 noon on Thursday for a pre-meeting event. We'll greet council members as they arrive to thank those who have already signed on, and encourage the rest to vote YES on Reso 549! Please gather at both the east and west entrances of City Hall plaza; look for Kim, Patrick or Clare when you arrive. Please bring photo ID to gain entrance. We'll ask you to hold thank you signs and greet the council members as they arrive, so bring your biggest smile! We'll go inside when the meeting starts (at 1pm) to watch the Reso get passed!

MORE LEGISLATIVE GOOD NEWS: Last week, the anti-TPP Resolution passed in the Council. PLUS, a resolution to shut down Indian Point will be introduced on Thursday as well. Given the fire this past weekend, that couldn't come a minute too soon. Don't miss this important day at City Hall––see you Thursday!

Sane's Port Ambrose Power Point

Here at Sane Energy Project, we feel strongly that offshore wind is what New York ought to be building right now, not short-sighted and damaging fossil fuel infrastructure that will impede the development of renewable energy. Here is the powerpoint we presented at the City Council hearing on Resolution 549 on April 1st, 2015. It's a PDF so please be patient while the link loads. wind v LNG jobs

 

 

Video of the Sane team presenting at the City Council hearing:

https://youtu.be/zslaDcFns8w

Reportback: Port Ambrose City Hall Hearing

April 1 crWhat was it and what you missed: The hearing is a step along the process of bringing Resolution 549 to a floor vote with the entire City Council. The reso asks Governor Cuomo to veto Port Ambrose, and will be an important signal from his downstate colleagues and voters. The hearing was jointly held by the Committee on Waterfronts, chaired by Deborah Rose from Staten Island, and the Committee on Environmental Protection, chaired by Rockaway Councilman Donovan Richards. We hope it will come to a full-council vote next month (we'll alert you when the date is confirmed) but right now we still need to get 12 more signers (here's who to call).

Representatives from both sides of the issue were invited to testify, but only two pro-Port Ambrose speakers were brave enough to show up: a gentleman from from Rockaway who touted gas as cleaner than oil, and Richard Thomas, Mount Vernon councilman and head of NY Area Alliance, an odd-duck pro-gas/pro-Indian Point/pro-renewables group created in partnership with lobbyist/macher, Jerry Kremer. The speakers were treated with respect by both the Chairs and the audience, but were let off the hook not at all, as when Chair Richards asked Thomas, "Have you contacted Liberty Natural Gas and requested them to move Port Ambrose closer to your community?" (Answer: no.)

The balance of speakers were in support of the resolution, highly informed, and covered a range of topics from economic to environmental. Bruce Ferguson from Catskill Citizens explained the economic unfeasibility of the project, pointing out that LNG imports are down 90%; Jose Soegaard of Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance noted the issue of "entrainment" (vast amounts of sea water being sucked up by the ships, which kills millions of marine larvae and eggs); and Cindy Zipf of Clean Ocean Action discussed the invaluable ecosystem that is the NY/NJ "Bight," with 5 of the only 7 species of sea turtles in the world making our area their home. The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan group that held a forum that included a Liberty rep, spoke of the terrorist risks of Port Ambrose. Anthony Rogers-Wright noted the skewed Rockaway census data used in the dEIS, which failed to count Hispanics as minorities, thereby avoiding a more stringent assessment required for Environmental Justice communities.

sane teamNRDC, Surfrider, Sane Energy Project and several others focused on the case for offshore wind over LNG. (Our power point presentation can be viewed here.)

Many of these issues were detailed in an open letter to Bronx council members (none have yet signed on to Reso 549) written by Bronx Climate Justice North and published in today's Riverdale Press.

Many others spoke eloquently (see photos below) and then there was a song performed in lieu of spoken testimony (a first, as far as we know, in Council Chambers) which caused everyone in the room (including at the dais) to whip out their cell phones. We'll post the video of the full proceedings as soon as it's available.

We've been to quite a few public hearings at this point, but this may be the first time we would describe the experience as "fun." The New York City Council, at this point in time, just might be the most progressive elected body in the country, especially the Committee on Environmental Protection, chaired by Councilman Richards. Compared to the dictatorial and top-down manner of the prior administration, this Council is out to change things up, operating in a way that is radically different, astonishingly open, even downright joyful. It's not quite an OWS meeting, but the committee does encourage use of Occupy-style "twinkle-up" approval signals at hearings, rather than disruptive applause. And when Councilman Corey Johnson spoke, he mentioned his arrest at the Spectra Pipeline (along with a few Occupiers).

richards swanstonThis  ain't your grandpa's Council. The open and engaging style of this committee at first came as a bit of a shock to anyone used to the old guard, beginning with Councilman Richards inviting advocates to a roundtable meeting at the start of his term, asking what was on their minds, and reviewing suggested initiatives. Combined with participatory budgeting, this is a rare opportunity for the public to get involved in our own democracy.

Port Ambrose is just one issue but we are impressed with the responsiveness this council has shown thus far. The resolution is one of the initiatives we asked for at the roundtable; now it's making its way through the City Council! Every time we encounter council members, they are calling for renewables and an end to fossil fuel addiction. They seem to want the future we want.

Whatever issue is close to your heart, we highly recommend jumping into civic participation; now is the time. Plainly put, if you're not engaging with this city council, at this time in history, you're missing all the fun!

 Below, various snap shots from the hearing and pre-hearing rally, courtesy of Kim Fraczek:

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Clock Stopped on Port Ambrose!

In a letter dated March 17th, the US Coast Guard and MARAD stopped the clock on Port Ambrose, based on the following reasons:

clock 31) The volume of dEIS comments to review (That's because of what YOU did--62,000 comments!) 2) Analysis related to pipeline burial depth and the Clean Air Act is still needed before the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS can be finalized. 3) Financial data that Liberty is supposed to submit is due before MARAD can make its final decision.

This is the second time the clock has been stopped, and it is unclear for how long. The delay may push the release of the final EIS back to July, and could push the 45-day veto period well into the summer. That's great for us, because there's nothing we like better than beach leafletting, and there's nothing that beach goers like less than LNG!

Meanwhile: Momentum that can't be stopped!

We're laser focused on getting Governor Cuomo to veto the project. To convince him, we need 3 key elements:

keep-calm-were-halfway-there1) SUPPORT FROM STATE OFFICIALS. There's already been terrific bi-partisan engagement. Now, the Rosenthal/Hoylman letter,  signed by 52 state legislators, has been sent to Cuomo!

2) SUPPORT FROM CITY OFFICIALS. We need 35 votes to pass City Council Resolution 549, requesting Governor Cuomo to veto Port Ambrose. We're already more than halfway there! Currently there are 19 co-signers, and we need 16 more. Here's who still needs to sign on.

3) PUBLIC SUPPORT. Cuomo needs to hear not just from other electeds, but from citizens all over the state. Take part in the postcard campaign that's been going on: Let us know if you can host a postcard-writing party!

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Successful Close of Comments on Port Ambrose!

kimYesterday was the final day to comment on Port Ambrose and nearly 62,000 comments were filed opposing it! A successful press conference on the steps of City Hall (photos below) featured NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilmembers Donovan Richards and Cory Johnson, affected frontline community members from the Rockaways and Long Island, student reps from NYPIRG and NYC advocates. The story was covered by NY1, News12 Long Island, WNYC, Newsday, and Capitol New York, which reported, "The drumbeat against the facility, a floating offshore loading station in the waters between New Jersey and Long Island, started in living rooms and union halls on Long Island and has gathered mainstream political support. The state's potent anti-fracking movement is also using its network of activists to fight the plan."

What's next? Focus on Cuomo!

April 1st, City Council hearing and rally:  Council Member Donovan Richards will host a public hearing on his Port Ambrose resolution. Join us for a rally ahead of the hearing and to testify. Let’s pack the room to overflowing! (Rally at noon, hearing at 1pm at City Hall, Council Chambers.) Help us get enough City Councilmembers signed on to pass this reso before the hearing!

April 13th, Bring our message straight to Cuomo: Join us outside a fundraiser luncheon at the Harvard Club, 27 West 44th Street, from 11:15 til 1pm, to ask the Governor to veto Port Ambrose!

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Photos courtesy of Martha Cameron

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?