Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cuomo Pushes New Toxic Fuels in Hudson Valley...and Beyond

Despite NYS's official energy policy, which calls for 50% of state energy needs being supplied by renewable sources by 2030, Gov. Cuomo- Democratic, Working Families Party Gov. Cuomo- continues to back the construction of the CPV (Competitive Power Ventures) fracked gas power plant on County Route 6 in the Town of Wawayanda, near Slate Hill, in Orange County.

Photo shows protestors at CPV site after Apr. 21 trial of "Wawyanda 6." Speaking is local resident Maddy Shaw. Fellow Wawayanda 6 members pictured are (right to left) actor and HVGP member James Cromwell, social work professor Naomi Miller (glasses), and Protect Orange County leader Pramilla Malick (orange shirt) - photo (copyright) by Barbara Kidney.

If operative, as planned by CPV and the Democratic and WF Party Governor, this plant would increase greenhouse gas emissions of electricity generators by 10% - for the entire state!  It would necessitate the operation of 150 frack wells PER DAY and emit 130 million cubic feet of greenhouse gasses PER DAY along with carcinogenic and neurotoxic particulate matter to land wherever, including on the valuable Black Dirt farmland in nearby Pine Island and on the gardens and schoolyards of the neighboring residential community.     

CPV would be the largest power plant in NYS.  Toxic fracked materials would travel hundreds of miles by pipelines leaking at a rate of 10% as a conservative estimate, from their source in the fracklands of PA to just outside congested Middletown, NY.  Additionally, enormous tanks of ammonia and diesel fuel are, and would continue to be, placed close to ever-busy highway I-84.  What could possibly go wrong?!

These and other interesting facts were given in sworn testimony by expert witnesses including Dr. Tony Ingraffea, geo-engineering professor emeritus of Cornell University, and Dr. Robert Howarth,  professor of ecology and environmental sciences, also at Cornell, on April 21, at the Town of Wawayanda Court trial of the so-called Wawayanda 6, who were represented by civil rights attorney Michael Sussman.  Back on Dec. 18, 2015, six members of a large group of anti-CPV protestors chained themselves in front of the CPV construction site entrance, and were arrested for trespassing. The defense case rested on the fact the protestors engaged in peaceful civil disobedience in order to prevent significant harm to the community, after having tried in vain to prevent this harm by legal means. (Indeed, sworn testimony included that during Planning Board hearings for the proposed construction of the plant, the Wawayanda Planning Board Chair told residents voicing concerns to "shut up"). 

During this April trial, Assistant Orange County District Attorney Maryellen Albanese made much of the alleged inconvenience to motorists delayed for about half hour on the morning of Dec. 18, 2015 (created not by protestors but by CPV truck-drivers refusing to move onto the highway shoulder), and she totally blew off any and all consequences of the operation of this toxic, already obsolete fracked fuel plant. She even objected to the scientific facts presented by highly credentialled Dr. Ingraffea as "hearsay"!  Once again, taxpayers' money goes to lavishly reimburse ignoramuses and/or pathological liars holding public offices.  Fortunately, presiding Judge Timothy McElduff Jr. overruled Albanese's absurd objections.

On June 7, Judge McElduff issued his decision that the protestors were guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced each of them to fines and surcharges of $375 and 45 hours of community service. When Attorney Sussman asked the judge to permit the defendants to render the community service by protesting at the CPV site, the packed courtroom erupted into unbridled cheers and applause, and the judge commuted that part of the sentence. Attorney Sussman noted that the judge ruled the protestors were guilty because the extreme harm to the community that they were trying to prevent on Dec. 18, 2015, WAS NOT THEN "IMMINENT" ENOUGH, and, as much time has since passed and construction continues, we can draw our own conclusions.  HEY, JUDGE, IS HARM IMMINENT ENOUGH YET?!

Three of the Wawayanda 6, HVGP member James Cromwell, along with Maddy Shaw, and Pramilla Malick, have refused to pay the fine, and are due to be imprisoned on Friday July 14 in Orange County Jail for a week.  A rally and press conference are scheduled at the CPV site on Route 6 in Wawayanda at 2 pm Friday July 14, followed by a motor caravan to accompany James, Maddy, and Pramilla to the county jail- come join this if you can!

Meanwhile, there is the matter of CPV needing DEC (NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation) to issue a permit to Millennium Pipeline Company for the construction of a 7.8 mile lateral pipeline to bring toxic fracked gas to the CPV plant. This new pipeline would run through Deerpark, Greenville, and Minisink, in Sullivan and Orange Counties. So...

EXTREMELY URGENT!!  Here's what we must do!  Let us overwhelm DEC with comments against the construction of this inevitably leaky pipeline of toxic fracked substances. Public hearings will be held 6 pm Thurs., July 27 at Monticello High School in Monticello, and 6 pm Wed., August 2 at Paramount Theater, 17 South St., in downtown Middletown. Written comments should be submitted by 5 pm Friday August 4 to the DEC website  IF CPV CANNOT GET THAT PIPELINE,  the CPV monster will be slain!

But wait, there's more!  Before he was fired by Donald Trump, federal attorney Preet Bharara was investigating corruption involving top Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco  and CPV lobbyist Peter Galbraith Kelly, Jr.  Percocco's wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco received more than $287,000 from CPV for a do-nothing job position with CPV, in exchange for Percoco's help in obtaining a state contract worth about $100 million to finance CPV, as well as millions of dollars in energy credits for another new toxic power plant in New Jersey (NYTimes, Weiser, Rashbaum, & Yee, Sept. 22, 2016). 

So,  Gov. Cuomo (Dem/WF) out-Trumps Trump when it comes to actual climate and environmental damage in NYS as well as in northern New Jersey (air pollution, greenhouse gasses) and Pennsylvania (ditto, plus 150 frack wells operating, and pipelines leaking).  Call Cuomo anytime and leave him a voicemail telling him this, at 518 474 8390.  You do not have to leave your name, and it would be an excellent idea to contact him repeatedly about this issue. Remember, CPV and its lateral pipeline violate both the Paris Climate Accord AND the NYS Sustainable Energy Plan.  And besides Cuomo, fellow Dems, Congressperson Sean Patrick Maloney and State Assembyperson James Skoufis, also support CPV and its own new dirty little pipeline.

And to think we could have had Howie Hawkins for NYS Governor.  Get real, people- when you have the choice, eschew both Red and Blue plutocrats and vote Green!

--Verde Claro