Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
New York State Governor
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
My name is __ and I live at __ .
I write today because __.
At a time when scientific concerns are greater than ever that burning fossil fuels contributes to global climate change, there is a growing consensus that every state in the nation must reduce consumption of oil, natural gas and coal to the maximum extent feasible.
New York is in an ideal position to wean itself off of polluting fossil fuels because it has ample availability of natural gas and petroleum products as well as excess electrical generating capacity to meet energy demand for at least ten years.
Instead of reducing fossil fuel consumption, however, your administration has repeatedly approved new infrastructure projects that would perpetuate our state's addiction to oil and natural gas for decades to come.
These projects include the Spectra and Algonquin Incremental Markets natural gas pipelines as well as the Competitive Power Ventures and Cricket Valley gas-fired power plants.
These facilities would exacerbate existing toxic pollution hazards in our state and contribute to global climate change. Approving new infrastructure is the opposite of what New York should be doing to solve its fossil fuel problems.
Request That You Deny All Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Approvals
I, therefore, request that you DENY all Section 401 Water Quality Certifications, gas storage permits, air discharge permits and other state authorizations for pipelines, compressor stations, power plants or any fossil fuel infrastructure projects proposed in our state.
I further request that your Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) DENY all infrastructure approvals because the agency cannot prevent or clean up environmental and public health hazards caused by fossil fuel facilities. As documented below, many toxic releases are never cleaned up to state standards.
Crestwood/Stagecoach/US Salt in Reading, NY
Toxic spills publicly posted in August 2017 document that this huge mining and gas storage facility repeatedly polluted Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes, one of the most famous waterbodies in the world and the source of drinking water for 100,000 residents. Many extremely large pollution releases at this site were never cleaned up to state standards over the course of more than 40 years.
See: Reading, NY Spill Compilation
Crestwood/US Salt has been sanctioned by two state consent orders for repeatedly polluting Seneca Lake over nine years and fined a total of $57,500.00. It is unthinkable that you would issue gas storage permits for Liquefied Petroleum Gas and methane storage facilities at this site given that DEC failed to enforce permit requirements during your entire tenure as New York's Chief Executive.
See: US Salt 2016 & 2012 Consent Orders
Former Standard Oil Pipeline Contamination Hazards
Construction of the natural gas Millennium Pipeline next to a defunct Standard Oil Company crude oil pipeline built in 1881 revealed at least four major toxic contaminated areas. Your administration failed to require these hazards to be cleaned up to applicable state standards. DEC also failed to require the 315-mile pipeline to be comprehensively investigated for toxic releases that could pollute hundreds of adjoining waterways, water supply wells and residential homes.
See: Standard Oil Pipeline Pollution Documents
Statewide Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Pollution Hazards
A total of 114 spill profiles publicly posted on 12/9/15 document that natural gas, oil and petroleum product infrastructure projects all over New York caused explosions, fires, leaks, spills and toxic discharges that caused extensive water pollution hazards that often were never cleaned up to state standards.
See: Natural Gas, Crude Oil and Petroleum Product Pipeline Fires, Explosions, Accidents, Ruptures and Spills
Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Moratorium Requests
Given New York's well-documented pipeline, compressor station and gas storage regulatory failures that caused widespread environmental contamination hazards, there are more than 1,100 signatories to a coalition letter which requests that you impose an immediate moratorium on all state approvals for fossil fuel infrastructure projects.
See: Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Cuomo Adopt a Statewide Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Project Approvals
This coalition letter echoes the same moratorium request in a letter co-signed by a total of 22 New York State Legislators.
See: Legislators Sign-on Letter Requests That Governor Cuomo Adopt Statewide Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Project Approvals
For all the reasons explained herein, I request that you stop expanding New York's reliance on fossil fuels by halting all fossil fuel infrastructure approvals. This action is warranted in order to safeguard the environment and public health from additional toxic contamination hazards.
In order to resolve this problem in the long run, I request that you reduce New York's dependence on polluting fossil fuels by implementing comprehensive insulation, weatherization, energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts that would drastically cut consumption of natural gas, oil and coal.
For example, your 2016 Built to Lead agenda outlined a very sensibly policy:
"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."
You have achieved only meager progress in translating this proposal into reality. Please make this policy a top priority in 2018 with the goal of cutting New York's energy consumption by at least one-third in ten years.
I trust that you will find my requests self-explanatory, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Thank you for your consideration.
cc: Honorable Basil Seggos
Honorable Howard Zucker, M.D.