Friday, March 9, 2018

MARCH & RALLY: Cuomo - Walk The Talk on CLIMATE! Get on the Bus to Albany

On April 23rd, we will march on the State Capitol to tell Governor Cuomo we don’t want more talk. We demand 3 bold actions to fight climate change, create good jobs, and ensure justice for all:
  1. Stop all fracking infrastructure projects
  2. Move to 100% renewable energy
  3. Make corporate polluters pay
The day of action will have two major components:

- A march on the State Capitol in Albany on April 23 and rally.

- An opportunity to participate in civil disobedience/direct action in the afternoon.

You are welcome to join for both, or join us for the march & rally and cheer on our allies participating in direct action.

Join us for the March & Rally –  Starting at 12pm in Sheridan Hollow and marching to the East Park of the Capitol Building in Empire State Plaza in Albany (exact route details to be confirmed).

Buffalo Buses to Albany: If you want to join a bus from Buffalo to the event, email your RSVP to both John ( and Rahwa ( who are with PUSH Buffalo.

If you are interested in participating in civil disobedience, please RSVP here: - You will be given information about attending a two-day action camp to learn and prepare before the event, and you will also be joining us for the march & rally.

More info about the event and the difference between Governor Cuomo's talk and walk on climate at

Statewide Coalition Demands Cuomo make Polluters Pay for a Clean Energy Transition

NY RENEWS delivers symbolic $7Billion check at the State Capitol - 2.27.2018

Coalition Calls for Polluter Fee to Fund Transition to Renewable Energy

February 28, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. — Climate activists delivered a symbolic $7-billion check to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, saying that's what New York stands to gain through a corporate polluter fee. The activists had just attended the Environmental Conservation Committee's budget hearing.

According to Dan Sherrell, the campaign coordinator for New York Renews, the governor's budget doesn't go far enough to address the growing effects of climate change but imposing a polluter fee on greenhouse-gas emissions could pave the way to 100-percent renewable energy by 2050.

"We could be raising $7 billion in revenue a year that could be invested in environmental-justice communities to protect them from the worst effects of climate change and in renewable energy," he says.

The governor has called for a program to bring solar power to 10,000 low-income New Yorkers, the development of offshore wind, and the closure of all coal-fired power plants.

Cuomo also has called for expansion of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate compact for reducing power-plant emissions. But Sherrell says a corporate polluter fee would be more effective.

"It will raise more revenue and it will be a more aggressive price," he notes. "And critically, it will be across the economy, so it will also tackle buildings and transportation which together make up almost 80 percent of the state's emissions."

He says the governor's office has indicated interest in creating a polluter fee but has made no commitment to pursue it.

New York has been a national leader in developing clean-energy strategies. But Sherrell notes other states are now considering corporate polluter fees as a way to advance their efforts, and they could soon leave New York behind.

"Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state is making this his priority issue for this year," he adds. "Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey has spoken about it and has also committed to 100 percent renewable energy, which Gov. Cuomo has not."

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand have expressed support for carbon pricing as a way to boost investment in renewable energy.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY

NY RENEWS at Gov. Cuomo’s Exec. Budget Hearing on Environmental Conservation - 2.27.2018

Nuclear Waste Must be Secured and Our Waters Protected -- Take Action!

Buffalo Niagara Region has a serious waste problem and perhaps none is so serious as the West Valley Nuclear Waste Facility 30 miles south of Buffalo.  An array of nuclear waste has been stored and some buried on an erodible plateau since the 1960s, put in place before there were any laws on the siting of such dangerous waste.  This site is managed by the Department of Energy and owned by the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, agencies responsible for cleaning up the waste and protecting public health and our waters.

Charley Bowman, of the Sierra Club Niagara Group, points out that “the protection of fresh water supplies underpins organized existence of human beings. There are enormous amounts of radioactivity (100,000’s of Curies) buried and stored at the West Valley nuclear waste site. Some of that radioactivity is escaping beyond the site boundaries and now resides in the surrounding unstable soils, trees and creeks. Some of the radioactive elements will be dangerous for millions of years.”

The Department of Energy begins Scoping Hearings for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on March 19, 20 and 21, to determine the final disposition of this waste site.  Joanne Hameister who has been working with the Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes since the 1970s states that her group “has been involved with the decision process for four decades.  After three Environmental Impact Statements and a fourth to begin in March, billions of dollars, a lot of surveys and studies, lawsuits and many 'duct tape' solutions to problems, we might have a direction for the future of the site.  The next decision must protect the water of the Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario, drinking water for millions of people downstream and for thousands of generations that could inherit these risks of radiation if we do not 'do the right thing' now.  It is a big order: dig it up, secure the waste and do not forget it.”

 “The government scoping meetings March 19, 20 and 21 are the public’s chance to tell the Department of Energy and NY Energy Research and Development Authority that we want full cleanup of the West Valley nuclear waste site. But the only way the deadly waste will be removed from the Great Lakes watershed is if our elected officials MAKE IT HAPPEN.”  Diane D’Arrigo argues that “the Department of Energy, NYSERDA, all their contractors and other ‘regulatory agencies’ will not step up unless they are forced to do so” based on the communities experience with the 2010 Environmental Impact Statement that delayed the decision for over a decade.

Hearings will be held at three different locations: 

Monday, March 19, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
West Valley Volunteer Hose Company, Inc., Firemen’s Memorial Hall and Training, 9091 Route 240, West Valley, NY 14171, in the Main Hall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, from 6:00p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Erie Community College, City Campus, Post Office Building, 121 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, in the Minnie Gillette Auditorium.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Seneca Nation of Indians Cattaraugus Council Chambers, 12837 Route 438, Irving, NY 14081

Pat Townsend of the Interfai th Climate Justice Community says that she is “already writing my comments to email them to DOE and NYSERDA during the public comment period that has just started. I remember the rainfall that caused the Gowanda flood of 2009 and the landslide it caused at West Valley. With our crazy, changing weather, who knows what erosion will do to the West Valley nuclear wastes? I've seen the maps: erosion could take radioactive waste right down the creeks to Lake Erie and Buffalo's water."

--  Submitted by Lynda Schneekloth, Sierra Club Niagara Group

More information:

Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Information Center 
Sierra Club Niagara Group

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Report: 100% Renewable Energy with Grid Stability is Possible and Economical

New Mark Z. Jacobson Study Draws A Roadmap To 100% Renewable Energy

February 8th, 2018 by Steve Hanley | CleanTechnica

Last August, Mark Jacobson, a renewable energy expert and senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University, was the leader of a study that identified how 139 countries around the world could obtain 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2050. But that study got some pushback from people who questioned its assumptions. The naysayers said the study relied too heavily on energy storage solutions such as adding turbines to existing hydroelectric dams or storing excess energy in water, ice, and underground rocks.

A Response To Critics

Those criticisms stimulated another piece of work from Jacobson and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley and Aalborg University in Denmark. They are now back with a new report they believe thoroughly addresses the concerns brought up by skeptics of the first report. It begins by breaking those 139 counties into 20 regions and proposing energy storage solutions uniquely suited to each region.

Here’s how Jacobson summarized the work and the findings in an email to CleanTechnica:
The previous paper (in Joule) estimated the number of devices in each of 139 countries needed to provide power for each country in the annual average with 100% wind, water, and solar (WWS).

This new paper takes the next step, which is to divide the 139 countries into 20 world regions, then to see if the grid can stay stable in each region every 30 seconds for 5 years, and what is the resulting cost.

Utilities and policy makers alike are concerned that all the wind and solar we propose for the annual average numbers in the first paper won’t allow the grid to stay stable — that the lights will go out. This is the biggest barrier for the large-scale implementation of renewables.

This paper new shows that there is not only one solution but multiple solutions to the grid reliability problem — thus large penetrations of renewables can indeed keep the grid stable at low cost.

In addition, we find that the wind turbines needed would reduce global warming by ~3% and quickly. That is a new conclusion as well.
That sounds good. Will policy makers and utilities listen now? That’s the trillion-dollar question. Either way, it will certainly help fill out the CleanTechnica Answer Box.

“Based on these results, I can more confidently state that there is no technical or economic barrier to transitioning the entire world to 100 percent clean renewable energy with a stable electric grid at low cost,” Jacobson said for his university press team at Stanford.

“This solution would go a long way toward eliminating global warming and the 4–7 million air pollution-related deaths that occur worldwide each year, while also providing energy security. Our main result is that there are multiple solutions to the problem,” he says. “This is important because the greatest barrier to the large-scale implementation of clean renewable energy is people’s perception that it’s too hard to keep the lights on with random wind and solar output.”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Community Solar News: Clean, Cost-Saving Energy for Sisters of St. Joseph -- NY State Expands Maximum Solar Project Size

Sisters of St. Joseph installs community solar power system

Project will provide 1 megawatt of power to the 212-acre Brentwood campus.

By Mark Harrington | February 7, 2018 | Newsday Long Island

Long Island’s first “community” solar installation that allows a group of ratepayers to collectively share in the cost-benefits of a large solar array is officially operating in Brentwood.

The new system, the result of a LIPA-approved rule change in 2016, will provide 1 megawatt of power to hundreds of residents and offices of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a 212-acre campus in Brentwood that is home to the Catholic order of religious women.

The project is owned by NextEra Energy Sources and operates under contract to the Sisters. Construction was completed late last year by EmPower Solar of Island Park.

The system will offset an estimated 63 percent of the campus’ energy needs, and save the Sisters of St. Joseph some $22,000 in electricity costs a year, NextEra said. The contracted price of energy from the system is around 14 cents a kilowatt-hour, said Tara Rogers, spokeswoman for the Sisters. That’s well below the approximately 19 cents average LIPA customers pay.

NextEra, of Jupiter, Florida, will maintain the system under a 25-year contract, in which all the power is sent to the LIPA grid, with energy virtually metered and credited to accounts on campus.

LIPA approved “community distributed generation net metering” in early 2016 to allow home and business customers to collectively build green-energy sources and share in the benefits among “members.” It can be cheaper for customers than individual home solar installations because of the members can share in the cost savings of building a larger array, LIPA said.

Community solar has a relatively small impact on the overall LIPA rate base, according to LIPA’s analysis at the time the program was approved. Each 12 megawatts of solar will have $1.95 million cost impact, an amount recovered on the revenue decoupling mechanism on LIPA bills. For the Brentwood project, that means a cost of around $165,000.

The Sisters’ solar array, consisting of 3,192 panels, is located on five acres designated as “degraded woodlands” beside a rain garden. The Sisters have a Sustainable Land Ethic Statement that encourages green building and sustainable uses.

Full article at Newsday

NY Spurs Community Solar by Upping Project Size Threshold

By Sneha Ayyagari & Miles Farmer  | February 22, 2018 | NRDC

In a win for solar power in New York, the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) released an order expected to encourage more communities to pursue shared solar projects by increasing the maximum size of community solar projects eligible for credits from 2 MW to 5 MW.

The initiative, known as the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) proceeding, aims to credit projects for the benefits that they provide to the electric system and to society. Expanding the size threshold will allow solar developers to reduce soft costs by allowing them to take advantage of the economies of scale afforded by including a larger number of panels within one project, and avoiding the need to arbitrarily divide development sites into multiple discrete projects. Put simply, larger community solar projects will now be eligible for a financial credit, allowing communities to build and finance projects more effectively and efficiently.

As explained in a previous blog, the VDER initiative sets credit rates for customers that subscribe to service from Distributed Energy Resources (DER), smaller energy projects that interconnect to the local utility system. These projects are generally located closer to homes and businesses where electricity is consumed than large power plants, avoiding the need to send power through large high voltage transmission lines. The PSC is phasing in VDER in stages, so while its first order setting up the rules for the new program provides a credit framework for community solar projects (the mid-size projects you see atop big box stores, factories, apartment buildings, or adjacent to communities in previously vacant land), it is expanding this framework to include other technologies like stand-alone energy storage and combined heat and power, as well as smaller projects on individual rooftops.


Friday, February 23, 2018

COMMUNITY FORUM: Don't want Nuclear Waste in Your Water? Get Informed and Take Action!

Presentation by 

Professor Emeritus of Neurology, University at Buffalo &
Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 PM,
Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.
(across from Albright Knox Art Gallery) [Map]

The Presentation will be followed by a Panel Discussion 
Learn how to make comments at Scoping Hearings

For detailed information on the Scoping Hearings, 
Click Here and see Page 2 of the document. 


Thanks to the Burchfield Penny Art Gallery, the Western New York Environmental Alliance, Sierra Club Niagara Group

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Presentation: LOCAL CLIMATE GOALS - What are they? How can we meet them?

The Sierra Club

Climate & Clean Energy Writers Group

Thursday, February 15, 2018


What are they? How can we meet them?

County Executive Mark Poloncarz recently released the report Erie County Commits to Paris - How Erie County Can Meet U.S. Target Reductions for Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Come get the facts on what the local sources are for greenhouse gases (GHG). Learn about the County's plans to reduce GHG emissions both in-house and in the community.

6:00-7:30 PM
Crane Branch Library
633 Elmwood at Highland
2nd Floor Meeting Room

Free & Open to the Public - Writers and Non-Writers alike for information

Price Carbon Pollution to Fund a Transition to Clean Energy and Green Jobs


A Need for a Pollution Tax

FEB. 5, 2018

To the Editor:

Re: “New Jersey Rejoins Regional Emissions Program It Quit Under Christie” (news article, Jan. 31):

When it comes to cutting carbon emissions, participating in a cap-and-trade program like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is important, but it’s only a partial solution. After all, the initiative covers emissions solely from power plants, whereas transportation produces the bulk of New York’s emissions. And so far, the initiative has not cut carbon at the speed science tells us is required to avert dangerous warming.

To do that, we’ll need a more comprehensive and aggressive form of pollution pricing. Your article highlights the laudable effort by Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State to tax fossil fuel pollution directly and reinvest the revenue in renewable energy. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York will soon have the same opportunity.

NY Renews, a coalition of 140 environmental, labor and community groups across New York State, has been developing a proposal — likely to be introduced in Albany this year — to invest in job-creating clean energy and resiliency projects for coastal communities, using revenue from a polluter fee.

We need Governor Cuomo to be a real climate leader and embrace this common-sense idea, and lead the country in passing it into law.


The writer is director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, a member of NY Renews.

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State should follow New York City's lead taking on big oil

By Ashley Dawson, Commentary
January 28, 2018 | Times Union

“Put a price on carbon emissions so that Big Oil pays for the damage done to our health and environment, and so that we can bankroll a transition to clean energy and fair-labor green jobs.”

The Empire State Building was lit up bright green Jan. 10 to celebrate the precedent-setting announcement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials: New York City is going to divest its $5 billion pension fund from fossil fuel-related investments. The city also has filed suit against the five biggest oil corporations to recover the billions of dollars in damage climate change has inflicted on the city.

It was a historic moment. The biggest city in the world's most powerful nation came out against the planet's richest, most powerful and most irresponsible industry. But it will take time for New York City's actions to have an impact. Divestment is not expected to happen until at least 2022. Big Oil has legions of lawyers who are experts in using the courts to obstruct justice and forestall reparations.

Although New York City's stand against Big Oil certainly sends a loud and emboldening message to the world, we need to be far more ambitious at the state level. We need state politicians to step up with concrete policy proposals that speed the transition away from fossil fuels. Otherwise, New York City's divestment could be nothing but hollow political posturing.

There certainly doesn't seem to be any meaningful coordination toward divestment on a state level. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that he is directing the state to begin looking into divesting its own substantial pension funds from fossil fuels. However, the following day, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, sole trustee of the state's $200 billion pension fund, responded that "there are no immediate plans to divest our energy holdings."

Last summer, as President Donald Trump announced his intention to back out of the Paris Agreement, the state Legislature considered the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA), which mandated the elimination of fossil fuels from New York's economy within 35 years. The CCPA set fair-labor standards for all green projects and ensured that at least 40 percent of the benefits of transitioning to a zero-carbon economy would be directed to the disadvantaged New York communities that have contributed the least to climate change but will bear the brunt of it. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the CCPA "the most progressive climate equity policy we've seen."

But the CCPA died after state Sen. Tony Avella, D-Queens, declined to push Senate leaders to bring the bill to a vote. Avella is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), whose members all cosponsored the bill in the Senate in the first place. But the IDC caucuses with Republicans. Cuomo, who refused to make the CCPA a priority in his 2018 executive budget, has often sided with the IDC and has not pushed for them to rejoin the Democrats. Given the war declared on blue states by the Trump administration, the days of such antics by right-wing Democrats should be numbered in a place like New York.

It's time for the citizens of New York to show the rest of the country we can lead the way beyond fossil fuels. Put a price on carbon emissions so that Big Oil pays for the damage done to our health and environment, and so that we can bankroll a transition to clean energy and fair-labor green jobs. These corporations are not and never will be good citizens. They have known the facts about climate change for at least four decades and have done everything to obscure reality and sow public confusion. They have corroded our democracy and wrought havoc on our planet in the name of profits. As de Blasio put it, it's time that these corporations take responsibility for what they've done.

More Information:
Ashley Dawson is the Barron Visiting Professor at the Princeton Environmental Institute and professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island. He is the author of "Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change."

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