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.
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)
The movement is growing, getting smarter, becoming trusted friends and are ready to take on the manifestation of a new regime in 2017. So we have to remember, when this entity wishes to build walls and separate us, we must work counter to it. We know they have 2 things: Money and Violence. and we have SO much more! We have a growing community, we have build sophisticated communication networks, alliances, support systems, we answer to each other when we call for HELP across the region… and we will refine and just get better with time to build the system we know is possible and serves all life on this small planet called Earth.
Second What’s Up With The Wind Farms?
We say wind farmS because, yes, New York has more than one wind farm in the works, and it’s important we understand what the deal is with them because they are both in different stages of development with different developers, and here’s the skinny:
- 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!