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Tuesday August 18, 2015 – United for Action Monthly Meeting

When: Tuesday 8/18/15 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm

Where: The Nation, 33 Irving Place, 8th Floor Conference Room, New York, NY 10003 (near 15th Street at Union Square)

Please come and join our August monthly meeting. We have much to cover and discuss. We hope to see many of you at the meeting. Please bring your ideas and enthusiasm. We need your participation and appreciate your input.

Watch Experts Explain the Urgency to Close Indian Point Nuclear Plant and How We Would Meet Our Electricity Needs Without It

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 9.14.18 AM Tim Judson of the Nuclear Information and Research Service NIRS explains the need not to renew but to close down Indian Point, an aging nuclear plant 20 miles from New York City. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is apparently about to approve the renewal of the operating license but its 5 regulators were chosen by the nuclear industry! The plant is unsafe in many ways. The steel of the reactor and housing has become brittle and seriously weakened from years of exposure to radiation but the owner, Entergy, is insisting on a delay of 10 years to examine the steel. If the plant explodes like Fukushima it would make all of New York City uninhabitable and 2/3rd of New York State. July 18, 2015 video by Joe Friendly.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 9.42.08 AM Paul Blanch, Registered Nuclear Engineer, 3 Mile Island Expert Witness, discussing the poor risk assessment of Indian Point staff, with crude calculations provided to the NRC revealed in a FOIA request reluctantly granted. He points to the risks of the proposed AIM pipeline. He points out the NRC has become a captive of the nuclear power industry serving their interests instead of the public’s and not properly analyzing the risks involved in the pipeline or nuclear power plant renewal. July 18, 2015 video by Joe Friendly.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 10.09.17 AM Andy Padian speaks on nuclear reliability.  Andy Padian speaking at Close Indian Point, Danger On The Hudson forum
sponsored by SDIPN, SAPE, IPSEC, WESPAC, UFA, 350NYC, NYSEC, NYC Friends of Clearwater, and Food and Water Watch.  July 18, 2015 video by Joe Friendly.

DEC Formally Banned Fracking in New York State

On June 29, 2015 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued its Findings Statement and has chosen to prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing statewide. After almost seven years of exhaustive study and review, DEC found “no feasible or prudent alternatives that would adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and that address the scientific uncertainties and risks to public health from this activity.” Consequently DEC approved “the No-Action alternative [which] will achieve the appropriate balance between the protection of the environment and the need to accommodate social and economic considerations.” With the publication of this Findings Statement, fracking is officially banned in New York State.

This is an amazing moment for all of us who worked tirelessly together for many years to ban fracking. Thank you for everything you’ve done and for being part of this massive movement which saved New York’s pristine water and prevented our cities, towns and countryside becoming an industrial site for extreme extraction of natural gas. Let’s take a moment to celebrate this incredible victory.

We know this is only the first step. We’ve got a lot more work to do to break our addiction to fossil fuel and nuclear power and to move to a truly renewable and sustainable future.

When you have a moment, please pick up the phone to call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390 and thank him for banning fracking in New York State. Remind him to veto Port Ambrose, stop the expansion of natural gas pipelines, compressor stations and all fossil fuel infrastructure, shut down Indian Point and set policies and priorities to lead NY State on the path to 100% renewable energy.

Watch Online – UFA Forum on Challenges and Solutions for Renewables

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Thanks to Owen Crowley for making these videos of the Friday May 8th event at Rutgers Presbyterian Church.

Thursday May 14, 2015 – Port Ambrose Resolution 549 Passed Unanimously in NYC Council

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Port Ambrose is a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port that has been proposed to be built by Liberty Natural Gas about 17 nautical miles southeast of Jones Beach for the New York/New Jersey Harbor where a proposed wind farm is to be built in the same area. LNG is natural gas that has been super-chilled to -260 degrees; turning it into a liquid that is 1/600th the original volume of gas so large volumes can be shipped overseas in LNG tankers which are as long as the Empire State Building is tall. This project threatens our health, safety, security, environment and climate.

Port Ambrose would

* Endanger our beaches, ocean ecology, tourism, fishing industries and shore economy.

* Increase our reliance on natural gas, a methane-emitting fossil fuel which is 86 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in our atmosphere over a 20-year period contributing significantly to climate change and put pressure to frack for more natural gas across the Northeast region.

* Present a potential terrorist target. Any explosion or fire from an LNG facility in the New York harbor would be catastrophic.

* Interfere with the development of a wind farm providing clean renewable energy proposed for the same area.

Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie have the authority to veto this project. It’s up to us to make sure they both do the right thing and protect our public health.

NYC Council Member Donovan Richards, Chairman of the NYC Council Environmental Protection Committee, introduced Resolution 549 on 1/22/15 opposing Port Ambrose and calling on Governor Cuomo to veto Port Ambrose. After months of calling, writing and meeting various council members by the grassroots groups, this resolution was brought to the City Council for a vote on 5/14/15 and passed unanimously. There was no opposing or abstaining votes. This resolution had 32 sponsors as it headed for a vote in the City Council. This result is a testament to all your hard work. It would not have happened without all your help and effort. Thank you.

Our target remains to be Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie since they are the only ones who can stop this project by exercising their authority to veto Port Ambrose. We need you to continue to call Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie, as often as you can, and tell them to veto Port Ambrose. We just need one of the Governors to exercise his veto power. If they remain silent, then it is deemed that they have given their approval.

Cuomo (518) 474-8390

Christie (609) 292-6000.

When you call Governor Cuomo please thank him for banning fracking in NY State; then ask him to veto Port Ambrose for the security and health of New Yorkers. When you call Governor Christie please remind him to keep his promise to veto Port Ambrose since he vetoed the same project once before in 2011.

Thursday May 14, 2015 – Indian Point Resolution 694 Introduced in NYC Council

At the same NYC Council meeting, Chairman Donovan Richards introduced Res 694 http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2286840&GUID=0B3FFD2B-EF46-4EA1-951F-185E2E9692F6&Options=ID|Text|&Search=res+694 calling on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to shut down Indian Point nuclear power plant which is located approximately 25 miles north of New York City. There are about 20 million people living and working within a 50 mile radius of Indian Point. It’s impossible to evacuate such a large population from this area in the event of an emergency at Indian Point. The original license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and the license for Indian Point 3 expires in 2015. Indian Point should not be relicensed.

Please click here to Find Your NYC Council Member and a Full List of NYC Council Members by Boroughs http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml and call your Council Member and others to sign on to sponsor Res 694 if they have not yet done so.

Congratulations! You did it!

Because of your relentless effort and fierce commitment to keep fracking from polluting our water, air and harming our health, last Wednesday on December 17, 2014, at a public, livestreamed meeting of Governor Cuomo’s cabinet in Albany, Governor Cuomo acknowledged the overwhelming science that speaks to the inherent dangers of fracking to public health and the environment presented by Joseph Martens, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, and Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of the Department of Health, Governor Cuomo banned high volume horizontal fracturing in New York State. This is truly a historic day. Let’s celebrate and savor this incredible moment.

We all know that this is only a step in the right direction, albeit a huge step. There is still a lot more work to be done. The only way we achieve our goal is to show up and not give up. Our hard won victory showed us that together we can do this. We will need you to show up as soon as the holidays are over.

Friday December 12, 2014 – Deadline for Comment on DEC’s Revised Proposed LNG Regulations

The deadline for comment on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s Revised Proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Regulations is December 12, 2014. There is an important change in the revised proposed regulations which is a direct result of our actions. DEC proposed a revision which would establish an upper limit of 70,000 gallons on the amount of LNG that a facility would be permitted to store. According to DEC, this revision is being made in response to approximately 57,000 submittals representing over 131,000 individual comments received during the proposed rule making about a year ago this time.

As you can see your comments really matter. DEC must hear from you on its revised proposed LNG rules. While we support the revised capacity limit, other changes are minor which means the proposed revised rules are still flawed and New Yorkers are still exposed to unnecessary risks. You can click on this link to see: How to Comment to DEC. Please take a few minutes to send in your comment today to DEC by sending an email to: derweb@dec.ny.gov and be sure to insert in the subject line: “Comments on Revised Proposed Part 570”.

For talking points, you may wish to refer to or copy and paste the below sample letter prepared by the amazing activist Keith Schue and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy:

Dear Mr. Brauksieck:

I appreciate that the DEC has revised its proposed regulations for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to prohibit facilities exceeding 70,000 gallons in capacity. This will hopefully prevent disasters like the one which killed 40 workers on Staten Island in 1973. However I remain concerned that the proposed regulations still expose New Yorkers to unnecessary risk.

State statute specifically requires that the DEC establish “siting criteria” for new LNG facilities, yet the proposed regulations fail to do this. While municipalities may have the ability to zone out facilities, this does not release DEC from its statutory obligation of promulgating rules necessary to protect the public in jurisdictions where LNG is allowed. As presently proposed, the regs defer to industry fire codes that let an ambiguously defined “authority having jurisdiction” waive any requirement therein. Clear rules regarding the safe siting and operation or facilities must be adopted by DEC.

The proposed regulations also contain no requirement for the recapture of methane gas, which is commonly vented from storage tanks, lost during LNG transfer, or bled from vehicles prior to refueling. Today, industry codes only require that methane be vented away from facilities to prevent fire or explosion. Furthermore, while the proposed regs mandate that LNG “spills” be reported, there is no requirement whatsoever to report the intentional or accidental venting of methane gas. This is an area in which Governor Cuomo–who professes to be concerned about climate change–could lead the nation. The issue must not be ignored.

The proposed regs are deficient in several other ways too. Requirements remain vague on mandatory emergency training and responsibility for the purchase of equipment or personnel. This could leave first responders, who are often local volunteers, unprepared to deal with serous industrial catastrophes. The regulations also lack any solid requirement for financial security to ensure that taxpayers will not be on the hook for abandoned facilities. Furthermore, the regs lack a credible permit structure, guaranteeing no more than a miniscule one-time application fee of $1000 or less. This is completely inadequate to administer a program that requires perpetual monitoring and enforcement. In other deficiencies, an important provision allowing for unannounced inspection was deleted from the most recent revision and the deadline for filing written spill reports was extended from 48 hours to ten days.

These are all serious deficiencies indicating that New York remains unprepared to deal with the public safety and climate impacts of LNG.

Sincerely,

Moreover, please click here: Thirty Days of Fracking Regs website by the incomparable Sandra Steingraber is an excellent source of talking points on DEC LNG rules.

The number of submittals made by us will show the strength of our movement and that citizens in New York State care about their health and environment. So please just do it and email your comment to DEC.

People’s Climate March: a Day to Remember

On Sunday, September 21st an estimated 400,000 citizens came together and marched through the streets of Manhattan to demand serious action from world leaders, who were meeting that week at the UN Climate Summit.  Although there were a few politicians and celebrities in the ranks, the march truly lived up to its name and it was ordinary people from all walks of life who made the day special with their voices, their creativity and their passion to change the world for better.  United for Action friends and families were part of the beautiful medley.  Below are some of their experiences and thoughts about the march.  We thank them for sharing their words and photos and are also grateful to photographers such as Erik McGregor and videographers Charlie Olson, John Duffy and the rest of the Environment TV crew who are sharing their amazing work.  Continue reading…

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Watch the “Tankers and Turbines” Speakers

Our appreciation goes to Owen Crowley, who single-handedly filmed, edited (incorporating the speakers’ slides), and posted video of UFA’s Tankers & Turbines event.  If you missed the event at Rutgers Church, you can view the various parts of the evening by clicking on the photos below.  Please watch, share, and spread the word that we must get Governors Christie and Cuomo to veto Liberty Natural Gas’ deepwater port application.

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1. Sean Dixon from Clean Ocean Action (see their Port Ambrose fact-sheet here) spoke to the audience about Liberty Natural Gas’ proposed port, how it would bring in tankers as long as the Empire State Building is tall, carrying explosive cargo among the shipping lanes of one of the busiest ports in the country.  Read more of this post.

Venturing into the Heart of PA’s Gasland:  A Firsthand Account by Melodie Bryant

I write with some embarrassment. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the horrors of fracking. After all, I’d been at the NY City Council meeting (along with Josh Fox) where the truth of what was facing us first came to light (Christine Quinn was against it then).Photo #22I saw the rushes from Gasland on wrinkled bed sheets in loft spaces when we were all scrambling to get it together. I saw – and was blown away – by Gasland 2. I’ve been to countless rallies and meetings. I know about radon, failing well casings, SGEIS statements, methane flaring, silica dust, brine on roads, and polluted aquifer. So when I signed up to go on a “tour” of fracking sites in PA on July 27th, I almost felt foolish.

I knew nothing.  Continue reading…

Minisink Matters

Minisink, NY is a beautiful community an hour and a half from NYC.   Unfortunately it is directly in the path of the gas industry’s fracked gas infrastructure designs.  They have sited a giant compressor station just a mile away from people’s homes.  It isn’t fully running yet, but test emissions that the industry conducted already have caused horrible Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 3.01.39 PMsymptoms to many in the community.  Ironically, many of the towns residents are responders who worked during 9/11 who have respiratory conditions and moved to Minisink for the healthy air and environment.  The town is fighting with everything they’ve got to stop the compressor station but they need your help. Continued….

What is Fracking?

Hydraulic Fracturing or “Hydrofracking” is a toxic and hazardous process of natural gas extraction which has caused irreparable damage to the environment. It has caused sickness and death in humans and animals, and made farms, homes and large tracts of land uninhabitable. Read more…

More Information on Fracking in our RESOURCE SECTION

The Numbers around Fracking don’t add up:

Watch these hard-hitting presentations from our 2012 “Frackonomics” event on the microeconomics, macroeconomics and external costs of fracking:

More than just the numbers, the human angle also evaluated:

A study presentation by Dr. Simona Perry who did case studies in affected areas that show industrial strength drilling rips communities apart.  Essential viewing.

There are better alternatives:

These speakers at a Renew New York event talk about alternative heating technologies such as solar and biodiesel.

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