A Busy Week

Monday, February 26, 6:30-8:30 
Forum on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)
Albany Public Library,161 Washington Ave. Albany, large auditoriumYou can click here to listen to a ten minute overview of CCA’s with Charlotte Binns of Joule Assets.

Tuesday, February 27, 9:15-3:30 (join for all or part)
People’s Hearing on Climate Change
NYS Capitol and Legislative Office Building (LOB)Citizen Action, NY Renews and other enviro groups will hold a People’s Hearing, concurrent to the official executive budget hearings, to call on Governor Cuomo to pass the Climate and Community Protection Act for 100% renewable energy and to implement a fee on big polluters to fund the transition. Then we’ll march to Governor Cuomo’s office to give him a giant $7.1 billion check–the exact amount he’s leaving on the table by failing to commit to a climate polluter fee.  This is a critical opportunity to put direct pressure on the Governor, raise our profile in Albany, and lift up our campaign in the media.
Contact Shondria at smith@citizenactionny.org 
9:15-10 am – Meet for briefing & T shirt, LOB Terrace 3rd Floor
10-10:30 Environmental Conservation Budget Meeting, LOB Hearing Room B
1-1:30 pm Giant Check delivery to Governor’s office, 2nd Floor “War Room”
1:30-2 pm Letter Delivery to Senator Jeff Klein – outside room 913 LOB
2-2:30 pm People’s Testimonial outside Senator Flanagan’s office 330 Capitol
Tuesday February 27, 6:45 – 8:15 pm
Addressing Climate Change in NY with Mark Lowery
William K. Sanford Town Library, 629 Albany Shaker Rd, Loudonville, NY 12211
An eye-opening talk, “Addressing Climate Change in New York – The Problems, The Solutions, The Actions” that will be presented by Mark Lowery from the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Climate Change. Sponsored by Citizen’s Climate Lobby.  Event is open to all and free.

Wednesday, February 28, 12 noon
Off-Fossil Fuels Press Conference
outside the Senate chambers on the 3rd floor of state capitol
Join us while Food and Water Watch and the Green Education and Legal Fund (GELF) have a press conference announcing 100% clean energy by 2030 / a halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure
Contact: Mark Dunlea dunleamark@aol.com.
We would love to have some people there holding signs – and helping with some of the logistics for the event.

Thursday, March 1, 7 pm 
SHARE Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy Meeting
at Citizen Action in Albany, 95 Central Ave Albany.
New faces always welcome.
Listen to the interview Lee Ziesche of Sane Energy had with Merton Simpson, Nancy Young and Emma Jenkins of Sheridan Ave.

County Legislators Urge NY Gov. To Halt Sheridan Ave Fracked Gas Plant, Seek Clean Energy Instead

By Dave Lucas

WAMC Northeast Report

Local officials are bringing their concerns about a proposed natural gas power plant in downtown Albany to power the Empire State Plaza to the governor.

A proclamation signed by 24 Albany County legislators was dropped off at the state capitol Thursday.  The paper, delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, calls on the governor to suspend what activists call the proposed Sheridan Hollow Fracked Natural Gas Microgrid and to issue a Request for Proposals to identify renewable alternatives to power the Empire State Plaza. (Scroll to the bottom of this article to view the proclamation.)

The proposed microgrid project would be located on the site of the old ANSWERS plant along Sheridan Avenue. During its heyday, the plant burned approximately 350 tons of waste each day, sending toxic materials into, and sometimes beyond the downtown Albany air.

People of Albany United for Safe Energy member Mark Dunlea says concerned citizens met with the governor’s office Wednesday.   “We particularly questioned them about ‘What did it mean that the Power Authority had agreed to take a step back and actually look at renewable energy alternatives. So far we’ve met with NYPA, they’ve been pretty dismissive of it, and what we want is for them to actually put out a full Request for Proposals to allow companies to come in and lay out how they could either use, say, geothermal or solar power to do what the state is trying to accomplish. The governor’s office was unable to actually make a commitment and said they did not know what NYPA was thinking about at this point.”

A spokesperson for the Cuomo administration told WAMC “NYPA announced further study on this two weeks ago.”  Albany County Legislator Merton Simpson, co-chair for SHARE, the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy, hand-delivered the proclamation.  “Well we don’t wanna hear about studies. We wanna hear about a specific request for proposals. The information that we provided the governor gives a number of actual programs throughout the world where geothermal options have been used, from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to the Nashville Airport. Right now, one of our major mentors and consultants is working with NYSERDA to develop projects all over New York state that actually use geothermal options. So the real question is ‘Why is it that there are some places in the state that are doing what’s right, but in communities of color, they’re willing to do what the governor says he’s against,’ which is fracked fossil fuels, but they actually have a proposal which they said they’re gonna look at alternatives, they’re gonna consider alternatives. We don’t want that kind of vague language. We want a concrete commitment to do what’s right.”

Dunlea fears the proposed microgrid would cause the Empire State Plaza to rely on natural gas produced from fracking for at least 90 percent of its electricity and 100 percent of its heating and cooling for years.  “It would basically commit this low-income neighborhood to another 30 years of having gas burned in their community. We think we can do a much cleaner alternative, and if the governor is serious about moving away from burning fossil fuels that he should be using the Empire State Plaza as a model.”

Dunlea cites Oklahoma as an example of a state that heats its capitol geothermally.

Global’s permit appeal denied
Ruling halts planned oil heating facility at Port of Albany site

The state Department of Environmental Conservation won another round in its legal battle over a long-delayed plan at the Port of Albany that could make it easier to ship thick Canadian tar sands oil.

The state Court of Appeals refused to consider an appeal by Massachusetts-based Global Cos. of a lower-court ruling that supported the DEC finding that Global submitted an insufficient air pollution permit application for its project in 2013.

Global operates an oil terminal, and filed plans in 2013 to operate a heating facility, which could make it easier to pump and transport oil in cold temperatures. Tar sands oil is thick and difficult to pump in the cold.

The company sued after DEC ruled in 2015 that the air pollution permit application was insufficient. A state Supreme Court ruling ordered DEC to make a decision on the project within 60 days, but that did not happen after the state prevailed last fall on an appeal to the Appellate Division.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy welcomed the Court of Appeals decision. Because the Appellate Division ruling was unanimous, the Court of Appeals had the discretion on whether or not to accept Global’s appeal.

“I continue to support the concerns many in the community have raised regarding the health and safety risks to the community posed by Global’s actions,” he said. “The DEC and the courts have listened as well and I continue to call for a full Environmental Impact Study to be done to assess the cumulative impact of the facility.”

In June 2013 Global applied to DEC for a federally required air pollution permit for the heating facility at the terminal it was already operating at the port. As public concern mounted, particularly among neighbors of the port in Albany’s South End neighborhood, DEC extended deadlines for public comment seven times.

In May 2015, just before a ruling on the permit was legally due, DEC issued a statement that it intended to revoke its earlier ruling that the heating plant project would have no adverse environmental impact.

But DEC has yet to issue the actual revocation, which would require Global to produce an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal.

• bnearing@timesunion.com • 518-454-5094 • @Bnearing10 By Brian Nearing Albany

Shared from the 2018-02-22 Albany Times Union eEdition

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