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Hawkins, Stein: Cuomo should veto Pt. Ambrose, Yes to Wind

Hawkins, Stein: Cuomo should veto Pt. Ambrose, Yes to Wind

Hawkins, Stein Calls on Cuomo to Veto Pt. Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Facility

NY needs to Make Firm Commitment to Develop Off Shore Wind

(Syracuse, NY) Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for Governor Cuomo to veto on November 6 the proposed Pt. Ambrose liquefied natural gas facility off of Long Island. With the last public hearing happening yesterday in New Jersey, Cuomo has from today (Nov. 6) to Dec. 21 to issue the veto, as does Governor Christie.

Hawkins said Cuomo should couple the veto with the announcement that NYS is making a long term commitment to develop off-shore wind (OSW). Hawkins and the Green Party support a state Power Purchase Agreement of 5,000 MW for OSW by 2025 and 10,000 MW by 2030.

“It is time for Governor Cuomo to announce the end of the fossil fuel era in NYS, and to commit to 100% renewable energy, including off-shore wind. The development of natural gas, far from being a bridge fuel, makes climate change worse because it is so much more potent than carbon near term. NY and Cuomo need to provide leadership in making off-shore wind a reality in the US,” noted Hawkins.

Hawkins also urged Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to announce support for these positions. The Greens will be fielding a candidate against Schumer next year for Senate. 

Dr. Jill Stein, who is seeking the Green Party nomination for President, added, "This is a microcosm of the choice before us. Will the Cuomo administration commit to continued dirty, dangerous, climate destroying fossil fuel energy, that further endangers communities with risks of explosion and fire, and provides few jobs? Or will Cuomo choose a future of clean, renewable energy, good jobs, and safe communities? At a time when the evidence of deadly climate change is growing by the day, it is shocking that elected leaders are too blinded by their fossil fuel entanglements to see the way forward."

The federal government (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) recently announced that the development of off-shore wind off of Long Island and NYC was their top national priority. Unfortunately, on the same day last December when Cuomo finally announced his opposition to fracking of natural gas the LIPA board he controlled rejected a large off-shore wind project.

The liquefied natural gas facility has been proposed for the same area as a proposed wind farm. The off-shore wind farm has been put on hold by the federal government until the status of the LNG application is resolved.

NY recently received a $600,000 federal grant to coordinate development of off-shore wind with other northeastern states.

In April 2008 Gov. David Paterson vetoed a similar LNG proposal in Long Island sound.

Methane or natural gas is 72 times more potent at capturing heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after release - and to deal with climate change, we need to focus on the next few decades.  

Hawkins pointed out that there are dozens of natural gas pipelines, storage facilities, compressor stations and power plants being proposed in NYS. While much of the decision rests with the federal government, many of them require state water permits that the Governor could deny. 

“Given the green light to natural gas will lead to climate catastrophe. Green lighting off-shore wind is a path to full employment and a strong local economy. A major commitment is needed to produce the needed cost reductions,” said Gloria Mattera, state chair of the Green Party.

In September, the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon Free Power Integration (CCPI) reported that US offshore wind power is further away in the US from commercial-scale deployment and operation than it was in 2005. One problem cited was that US politicians keep waiting for the market to drive off-shore wind rather than recognizing that off-shore wind is essential to stopping climate change. 

Benefits cited by the authors include local manufacturing jobs, reducing pollutants caused by dirtier energy generation techniques, clean energy security, price stability, and national economic competitiveness overseas.  They support a regional approach to developing off-shore wind.

The University of Delaware wrote NYSERDA’s recent paper on developing off-shore wind. That study points out that a major long-term commitment by NYS to off-shore wind could alone reduce costs by 30%. Whatever state builds the first major off-shore wind project is likely to attract the infrastructure investment in manufacturing, shipping, ports, and supply chain that will position it to be the center of the off-shore wind built out along the east coast.

LNG facilities are also considered major terrorist targets. Department of Energy studies indicate that if such a facility was set on fire, it would be hot enough to melt steel at distances of 1200 feet, or result in second-degree burns on exposed skin a mile away. Port Ambrose would interfere with shipping traffic and commercial fishing industries, and cause water quality impacts and habitat destruction.

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