The New York State Energy Plan Should Rely on Renewable Energy, Not Fracked Natural Gas 

In January, the Cuomo administration released a draft of its New York State Energy Plan, and the window to submit comments is quickly closing. To submit your comments by the April 30thdeadline, click here today! What are State Energy Plans? energy planState energy plans help to guide and build consensus among stakeholders in moving toward a shared goal of meeting future energy needs in a cost-effective and sustainable manner....  

Why are State Energy Plans important? A well-constructed state energy plan provides an assessment of current and future energy supply and demand, examines existing energy policies, and identifies emerging energy challenges and opportunities.  The plan, as well as the process to develop the plan, informs the future direction of state energy policy, programs, and funding allocation.  At least 36 states have active energy plans and 18 states are updating or developing new state energy plans, including New York. What you should know about New York’s State Energy Plan: The draft New York State Energy Plan perpetuates the use of climate changing fossil fuels and would meet energy needs by producing or importing massive amounts of fracked natural gas.

  • The plan completely ignores methane emissions in its calculations to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2030. It is true that burning natural gas emits less carbon than burning other fossil fuels like coal, however that is only a part of the story.  Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  In fact, a recent study by the Nobel Prize winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says methane will contribute to global warming 86 times more than carbon dioxide over the next twenty years.  Thus, the methane that leaks during the fracking process from pipelines, compressors, wells and processing units eviscerates any perceived advantage.

  • The plan projects increased natural gas usage, which would require building a massive natural gas infrastructure of new gas-fired power plants, pipelines, compressor stations, and LNG facilities. This infrastructure would contribute to widespread health and environmental impacts in communities across the state.  It would also tie us to climate-changing fossil fuels for decades to come because the initial investment would need to be paid off.   Instead of building a natural gas infrastructure, we should invest in an infrastructure for clean, renewable energy.

  • While the plan outlines major growth in natural gas usage, it has no growth in renewables after 2020.  Rather than building a fracked-gas bridge down the dead end road of fossil fuels, we should support the work that is already happening in New York State to expand renewable energy development. Power generation from wind and solar more than doubled in our state between 1990 and 2012 (surpassing any other energy source). This plan makes no commitments to increase the proportion of our energy produced by renewable sources, despite substantive academic research showing that the technology and capacity to create 100% of New York’s energy from renewables is possible by 2050. All that we are lacking is the political will.

The IPCC reports that nations have so dragged their feet in addressing climate issues that another 15 years of failure to significantly limit carbon emissions will result in the problem being virtually impossible to solve with currently known technologies. The stakes are incredibly high and the window in which we can do something about climate change is closing. The New York State Energy Plan needs to wean us off polluting fossil fuels and move us to renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal, before it’s too late. Make your voice heard!  Submit your comments today.

Breaking News! NY-Sun Initiative Extended

The NY Public Service Commission announced earlier today that they are extending the NYSunsuccessful NY-Sun Initiative to install ten times more solar power in New York State by 2023. The Governor’s expansion of the state’s landmark solar program will support thousands of jobs, lower solar costs and increase energy reliability for New Yorkers. Since its launch in 2012, NY-Sun has resulted in almost 300 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic capacity installed or under development, more than was installed in the entire decade prior to the program. The NY-Sun extension is expected to:

  • Build 3,000 megawatts (MW) of solar, enough reliable clean electricity to power nearly half a million New York homes.Create 13,000 new solar jobs in New York.
  • Cut climate change emissions by another 2.3 million tons annually, the equivalent of taking almost 450,000 cars off the road
  • Save New Yorker ratepayers billions of dollars by reducing the need to fire up our dirtiest and most expensive fossil power plants.
  • Spur millions of dollars of investment in the state's growing clean energy economy.

Thank you Governor Cuomo! This is the type of bold action that we’d like to see outlined in the State Energy Plan.

Mountainkeeper moved!

Thanks to your support, Catskill Mountainkeeper has expanded our programming and photo-5staff to better serve the region and New York State.  After working elbow to elbow in our one room office for several years, it was time to move. Now headquartered on Main Street in Livingston Manor, Mountainkeeper has become a part of the small town community that makes the Catskills unique, rich and beloved. A special thanks to long-time Mountainkeeper supporter Dan Levinson whose vision and enthusiasm helped us outfit the new office with his custom designed (and built) furniture! We will soon be joined by The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open our new, more spacious office. Stay tuned for the announcement, and in the meantime, come by and pay us a visit. We’d love to see you. Our new address: 43B Main Street, PO Box 1000, Livingston Manor, NY 12758

  Save the Date! An Afternoon Supper at Neversink Farm 

 neversinkJoin Catskill Mountainkeeper for an afternoon of live music, guided farm tours, berry picking and a delicious spread prepared by James Beard award-wining chef Patrick Connolly. Neversink Farm in Claryville, NY July 19, 2014, 3-6 pm. Call us today to reserve your Early Bird Tickets. Adults $50, children $20. 845-482-5400

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