New Report Urges End to Fossil Fuel Drilling and New Infrastructure

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Climate and Energy

A sobering report from the International Energy Agency recommends world leaders to immediately halt new fossil fuel projects in order to contain global temperature increases. 

Food & Water Watch Policy Director Mitch Jones released the following statement: 

“Stopping fracking and all new fossil fuel development is the most obvious and effective course to confront the climate crisis. This is not a new analysis of the problem, but it is revealing that this message is coming from an international agency that has not staked out these kinds of positions before. That is a testament to both the power of the international climate movement and the urgency of the crisis we face. The Biden administration speaks of climate as an existential threat; it’s time that they act like it, by stopping new fossil fuel projects and banning fracking everywhere.”

Virginia Activists Highlight Environmental Injustices in Fracked Gas Plant Permitting Process

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Climate and Energy

Charles City, VA — This morning, impacted residents and environmental justice advocates gathered virtually to highlight the accumulated negligence behind C4GT’s permitting processes and the environmental injustices core to the project. On the heels of a Charles City County Administration vote to reclaim the land the power plant plans to develop, and one week after C4GT’s State Corporation Commission’s Certificate of Public Necessity was due to expire, speakers gathered to urge prompt state action to stop the project.

The C4GT plant is the latest in a string of fossil fuel infrastructure projects to enter rocky ground, from the evaporating financial rationale behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline to the corporate interfighting that left C4GT footing the bill in a recent lawsuit loss to Virginia Natural Gas. Despite the limited financial viability of the project, state agencies and lawmakers have been unwilling to take action against the plant.

Speakers highlighted the environmental injustices core to the project, and called on the Department of Environmental Quality to subject the project to their new environmental justice rules.

“For over twenty years, County officials have been concerned with gaining profits through the C4GT power plant. Local government officials have repeatedly told the residents of Charles City County that this project is a done deal — now they are changing their tune,” said Wanda Roberts with Concerned Citizens of Charles City County. “I represent the Concerned Citizens of Charles City County and on behalf of our hundreds of supporters demand action against the C4GT plant. Change does not happen in a day and it is change that we desperately need in Charles City County.”

“The state’s continued negligence to hold C4GT to utmost scrutiny is an injustice to the residents of Charles City County and indeed the state,” said Food & Water Watch Virginia Organizer Jolene Mafnas. “To allow the C4GT project to continue would be to support the irresponsible and incompetent actions of a corporate polluter rather than to protect the health and safety of constituents in Charles City County. We stand with the citizens of Charles City County in demanding prompt action to review the C4GT plant.”

“Fossil fuel projects are predatory in their siting, across Virginia — C4GT included,” said Mothers Out Front Virginia Organizing Manager Kim Sudderth. “If you are black, brown, indigenous, poor, rural or any of the above, I’ve learned that you will be affected by environmental injustice. If the C4GT plant is built, it will give life to other opportunists to prey upon the residents of Charles City now and in the future. We demand that the C4GT plant be cancelled.”

“This project is smoke and mirrors on a corporate level,” said Richmond Interfaith Climate Justice Council Member Barb Adams. “There is waning support even for the Charles City County administration who has declared this a done deal for so many years. We must keep the light on this project and ask the very hard questions of our state agencies as to why they continue to allow C4GT’s scheme to continue.”

“There is no reason for the state regulatory entities — SCC and DEQ — to continue to dilly dally and play with the C4GT corporation,” said Sierra Club Virginia Outreach Coordinator Lynn Godfrey. “This needs to be squashed.”

New footage taken in March of the hasty construction at the C4GT site last December, which the Department of Environmental Quality states maintained the project’s permits, is available at the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4t6t8txfhg7r8v9/AADrpFTSeXJ4OwbH4Xi0EEGfa?dl=0. Photos and images are available for media use with attribution to Ben Cunningham of Blue Ridge GeoGraphics LLC.

A recording of the event can be found at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VA6FkrUWUeqBbO0AStkdbk4SLgEwctEV/view?usp=sharing.

Contact: Phoebe Galt – [email protected]

Newark Residents, 40+ Groups Seek to Stop Fracked Gas Power Plant Proposed in Ironbound

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Climate and Energy

Newark residents and a diverse coalition of environmental, faith and social justice organizations called into the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s board meeting today to demand the agency stop their plans for a new fracked-gas power plant at their massive sewage processing facility in Newark’s Ironbound community. 

The speakers called on the commission and Governor Murphy to stop this polluting proposal and redesign their resiliency project using renewable energy. 

“This fracked gas plant will cause further harm to Ironbound residents who have already been unreasonably burdened with an overwhelming number of environmentally hazardous facilities in their area. Governor Murphy had NJ Transit switch from gas to renewables to power a microgrid just a couple miles from here in Kearny, there’s no reason that can’t happen here and it must. Black and brown residents in Newark deserve the same considerations,” stated Maria Lopez-Nunez, Ironbound Community Corporation’s Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy. The sewage plant should have a backup generator in some form but one that improves for our community. They could even cover their pits and put solar panels on them that would also reduce odors too!”

Speakers stated that the project is in direct violation of Governor Murphy’s commitments to protect Environmental Justice communities, as well as the landmark environmental justice cumulative impact law passed last summer. That law, passed after years of organizing by environmental justice communities, is designed to prevent new polluting infrastructure in already overburdened communities. 

Though the environmental justice law was passed last summer, it will be at least another six months until rules go into effect that would require projects to complete a cumulative impacts review.  The law provides NJDEP with additional authority to reject permits for projects that would exacerbate pollution and public health impacts in already overburdened communities.

In the meantime, dozens of new polluting projects are currently seeking permits from the administration before the new law goes into effect. 

“This fracked gas plant directly contradicts Governor Murphy’s policies to deal with environmental justice and the climate crisis! Newark can’t be the dumping ground for everyone else. We need resiliency in the event of another disaster like Superstorm Sandy but the solution can’t be to perpetuate NJ’s legacy of environmental racism. My family and neighbors already suffer from toxic pollution from the nearby port, highways, airport, incinerator, many other smoke stacks and contaminated sites. The Governor and NJ Transit stepped up in the Meadowlands, now PVSC and the governor need to follow suit here, stop this disastrous proposal and redesign it with renewables,” said Kim Gaddy, Newark resident, South Ward Environmental Alliance founder and Clean Water Action national environmental justice director.

The Newark power plant, which would be paid for in large part by taxpayer-funded FEMA dollars, is part of a resiliency project proposed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The storm caused the sewerage plant to lose power, spilling billions of gallons of raw or partially-treated sewage into the Passaic River. The project would provide backup power to the treatment plant when the grid is down, and offset PVSC’s power needs from the grid at other times. 

While advocates understand the importance of building infrastructure resiliency in the face of climate change, they are demanding that this be done using clean renewable energy that will not increase the pollution burden in the Ironbound and surrounding region. Advocates see a connection between this project and the fracked gas power plant NJ TRANSIT had proposed in nearby Kearny to meet similar resiliency goals. After more than 18 months of opposition, NJ Transit announced last fall they would shelve their plans for a gas project and redesign it using renewable energy.

“Residents and advocates secured a huge victory last fall when NJ Transit announced they would stop their proposal for a fracked gas power plant and instead redesign the project using clean renewable energy,” said Matt Smith, Food & Water Watch New Jersey Director and EmpowerNJ steering committee member. “Now another state agency is moving ahead with a major polluting project in an environmental justice community, during a public health crisis, under the Governor’s watch. If Governor Murphy intends to fulfill his commitments to protect public health and fight the climate crisis, he must reject this dirty energy proposal and work with PVSC to redesign the project with clean renewables. NJ Transit did it, they can too.”

 A growing coalition is forming between Ironbound organizations and other groups across Newark and the entire state. More than forty organizations have come together so far to call on the Governor and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission urging them to stop the fossil fuel power plant and replace it with a clean renewable energy solution.

“This plant is completely out of alignment with Governor Murphy’s and President Biden’s commitments to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy”, said Cynthia Mellon, Co-Chair, of the Newark Environmental Commission, board member of the NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, and Newark resident. “Anything that uses fracked gas should be scrapped, full stop. Our pollution-burdened city and neighborhoods are already at the limit of what human health can withstand. Clearly, this is an attempt for PVSC not just to meet its resiliency needs, but to generate revenue for the agency at the expense of clean air and healthy lungs for the communities surrounding the propos plant, and before the new environmental protections enter into force. There is no justification for this plant. We can do better, so let’s start doing it.”

Over 80 New York Groups Tell Congress: Leave Dirty Power Out of Clean Energy Standard

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Climate and Energy

Albany, NY — More than 80 New York advocacy and grassroots groups joined more than 650 national organizations in releasing a letter to Congress yesterday calling for a truly clean, renewable energy standard as part of the evolving infrastructure package.

To meet its new climate goals, the Biden administration is expected to back a national Clean Energy Standard (CES), which some advocates argue can pass under existing budget reconciliation rules.

But the groups releasing the letter — including Food & Water Watch, New York Communities for Change, Riverkeeper, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, New York Youth Climate Leaders, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and 350Brooklyn — are critical of current CES plans that qualify fracked gas, carbon capture and storage, factory farm biogas and offsets schemes as forms of clean energy. They point out that these technologies either do not effectively reduce emissions, or create pollution burdens in environmental justice communities, “perpetuating the deep racial, social and ecological injustices of our current fossil-fueled energy system.”

One leading CES proposal, which is outlined in a bill called the CLEAN Future Act, introduced by New York’s Representative Tonko, includes fracked gas and other dirty energy sources as qualifying in their vision for “clean” energy.  

“Clean energy simply cannot include dirty power sources like fracked gas — any attempt to include these backwards energy sources in nationwide efforts to move toward a cleaner future must be rejected wholeheartedly,” said Food & Water Watch New York Senior Organizer Eric Weltman. “New Yorkers are united in their calls on Congressional leaders like Representatives Tonko and Jeffries to stand for a true clean energy future and stand up to oil and gas lobbyists whose only interest is in profiting off the climate crisis they perpetuate. Clean energy must be clean.”

“Fracked gas, ecologically destructive hydro, and waste incineration have no place as part of our response to the climate crisis, especially with true renewables like wind and solar on the rise,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. “As New York looks to meet its ambitious renewable energy targets, we need strong federal standards that can separate right from wrong, and that will help correct the deep environmental injustices of the fossil-fuel era.”

“It’s mind-boggling that representatives like Hakeem Jeffries aren’t backing stronger policies than the Clean Energy Standard when their constituents live in communities extremely threatened by climate-fueled heat waves and flooding,” said Patrick Houston of New York Communities for Change. “They have every moral and practical reason to support bolder plans like the Renewable Energy Standard, but continue to lack the political will to do so.”

“At our current rate of global GHG emissions we have seven years left to use up our ‘budget’ before the climate reaches the point of no return. In no way can we afford any new fossil fuel infrastructure. Instead, Congressman Tonko has proposed a ‘Clean Electricity Standard’ (CES) that secures the fossil fuel industry’s grip on our energy production for years to come. The atrocity of more fossil fuel build-out must stop now,” said Sandy Steubing, Facilitator, People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE).

The letter calls for a truly renewable energy standard that reaches the goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, with an emphasis on distributed energy resources and storage. Such a plan should emphasize clean, renewable energy sources and exclude polluting practices and unproven technologies like waste incineration, carbon capture and factory farm biogas. 

New York’s Utility Shut-Off Moratorium Extended

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Clean Water

Albany, NY — Last night, Governor Cuomo signed S.1453-B/A.6225-A into law, extending New York’s statewide life-saving utility shut-off moratorium, which had expired on March 31. The law extends the statewide moratorium on utility shut-offs, including water, heat, electric, telephone, cable and broadband services until the conclusion of the COVID-19 state of emergency or until December 31, 2021, whichever comes first. For New Yorkers who suffer financial harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the law enshrines a further moratorium extension of 180 days.

Research from Food & Water Watch demonstrated the life-saving effect of water shut-off moratoria during the COVID-19 pandemic, and further studies have shown that the negative impacts of utility shut-offs disproportionately harm low-income communities and communities of color in New York. Environmental, legal aid, consumer protection and social justice organizations applauded Senator Kevin Parker and Assembly Member Diana Richardson for their leadership on the bill, and commended Cuomo for his signature.

Advocates lauded new strengthened provisions to the moratorium, including:

  • Establishes a moratorium on water liens, which can lead to home foreclosure
  • Gives state agencies authority to enforce the law against public water utilities
  • Increases the frequency of public notification
  • Provides new protections for tenants

“New York’s utility shut-off moratorium has proven to be a critical component of fighting the spread of COVID-19,” said Food & Water Watch Senior New York Organizer Eric Weltman. “While vaccination rates rise, many New Yorkers are still subject to the perils of the enduring pandemic, and all are in need of continual access to water and other essential services to remain healthy. We are proud to see the life-saving moratorium extended, and look ahead to securing the right to water and essential services for all New Yorkers, regardless of personal situation or state of emergency.”

“All New Yorkers need access to clean water, even as many continue to struggle economically due to the lasting impacts of the pandemic. The Governor and Legislature have taken an essential protective step by extending and strengthening the state’s ban on utility shut offs,” said Larry Levine, Director of Urban Water Infrastructure & Senior Attorney at NRDC. “The state’s most vulnerable are helped greatly by new protections against lien sales and foreclosures for overdue water bills, and the state can build on these protections by creating a permanent water affordability program that ensures safe water is always accessible to everyone, regardless of income.”

Liz Moran, Environmental Policy Director for NYPIRG, said, “Every New Yorker, regardless of where they live, race, or class, should have access to clean and safe water — this basic need has been strongly highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. No one should fear that their water will be shut off at any time, but especially during a time when hand-washing and practicing proper hygiene is critical to prevent the spread of a deadly illness. NYPIRG thanks the Governor and the Legislature for taking this crucial action to protect public health.”

“Access to water during Year One of the COVID-19 pandemic was vital to stopping the spread and limiting the loss of human life,” said Richard Berkley, Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York. “PULP thanks the Governor, Senator Parker and Assembly Member Richardson for extending the moratorium for Year Two of the pandemic and making sure that vulnerable New Yorkers have water, telecommunications and energy so they can attend school from home, work from home and get medical care from the safe shelter of their homes. Hand washing fought the pandemic, but water is a human necessity at all times.”

“The Western New York Law Center congratulates the Legislature and Governor for enacting crucial legislation extending and expanding protections to New Yorkers facing water shut offs and debt attributable to the economic deprivations caused by COVID. Untold thousands of New Yorkers across the State will benefit from this law. In the past, Buffalo’s most vulnerable residents have suffered greatly from water shut offs and onerous water debt. The consumer protections in this new law will relieve them of a burden and worry in the immediate future. We look forward to further, long-term remedial legislation dealing with water affordability and rearrange forgiveness,” said Joe Kelemen, executive director of the Western New York Law Center.

Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY, said “This pandemic has brought to light a water affordability crisis not only in New York, but across the country. We are grateful that state lawmakers have both extended and strengthened New York’s moratorium, establishing some of the strongest consumer protections in the country. We are glad that New Yorkers will continue to be protected from harmful shut-offs if they cannot currently afford their utility bills, and we look forward to continuing working to ensure that every New Yorker has affordable drinking water.”

“Governor Cuomo and the Legislature have taken monumental steps to ensure the health and safety of New Yorkers by extending the statewide moratorium on utility shut-offs,” said Kevin M. Quinn, Esq., Supervising Attorney of the Center for Elder Law & Justice in Buffalo, N.Y. “While more and more New Yorkers are being vaccinated, we must remain vigilant in taking necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. An extension of the moratorium will be instrumental in accomplishing this vital goal. We are thankful for the moratorium extension and we look forward to continued efforts to maintain water affordability for all New Yorkers going forward.”

“Freshwater Future applauds Senator Parker, Assembly Member Richardson and Governor Cuomo for their leadership in ensuring all New Yorkers have access to tap water in their homes to fight this pandemic,” said Kristy Meyer, Associate Director at Freshwater Future. “Now we must work together to ensure all New Yorkers have access to safe, clean and affordable water even after the moratorium has expired.”

650+ Groups Tell Congress: Leave Dirty Power Out of Clean Electricity Standard

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Climate and Energy

WASHINGTON — More than 650 national advocacy and grassroots groups sent a letter today calling on Congress to develop a truly clean, renewable, and just energy standard for electricity as part of an evolving infrastructure package.

To meet its climate goals, the Biden administration is expected to back a national Clean Electricity Standard (CES), which some advocates argue can pass under existing budget reconciliation rules.

But existing CES proposals from prominent Democrats allow for filthy and false solutions such as fracked gas, carbon capture and storage, and factory farm biogas, warn groups including Indigenous Environmental Network, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Oil Change International, and The Democracy Collaborative. 

The letter points out that these technologies either fail to reduce emissions or, even worse, create additional pollution burdens in environmental justice communities, “perpetuating the deep racial, social, and ecological injustices of our current fossil-fueled energy system.”

One leading CES proposal, the CLEAN Future Act from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, allows fracked gas and other dirty energy sources to qualify for “clean” energy credits. 

“Counting dirty power sources like fracked gas as clean energy is more than foolish — it is dangerous. There will never be technology that magically transforms these polluting practices, which means we’ll be left in the same place that we started, as the climate crisis only intensifies,” said Food & Water Watch Policy Director Mitch Jones. “The urgency requires clear, honest policies that reject the mistakes of the past and do not sacrifice frontline communities for the sake of political expediency. It’s simple: Clean energy should be clean.” 

“An electricity standard that allows methane gas, biomass and carbon capture and storage only perpetuates the racism and energy violence already baked into the system,” said Jean Su, Energy Justice director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can’t just build back better. Justice requires we build back fossil free. Proven solutions like distributed solar and storage protect our air, boost climate resilience and safeguard our communities and wildlife. There’s no reason to prop up the ailing fossil fuel and nuclear industries when opportunities for cheaper and safer renewable energies abound.” 

“We need a Renewable Energy Standard, not a fracking energy standard,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “The science and justice demand renewables, not lifelines for fossil fuels and other false solutions like nuclear, biomass and carbon capture.” 

“Climate chaos is hurting local communities across Mother Earth, and we cannot wait for a just transition from fossil fuels. Natural gas, carbon capture storage and other fossil-based techno fixes, bioenergy and biomass, nuclear and other false solutions such as market-based accounting systems like carbon offsets perpetrate dirty and destructive energy generation,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. “This country needs to enact a renewable electricity standard that would champion a just energy agenda creating an ambitious carve-out for rooftop and community solar and wind storage and other distributed energy resources. This has to be linked to reducing waste and energy consumption levels, making electricity affordable, and part of building Indigenous nations, rural and local economies.” 

“CEJA members and partner organizations have long held that a Just Transition to a regenerative, clean energy economy requires addressing the roots of the climate crisis,” said Alexis Sutterman, Program Associate at the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “This means rejecting false solutions — such as gas, biogas, and carbon capture — that prop up the fossil fuel industry at the expense of frontline communities’ health and safety. It also requires building the new through an unwavering commitment to genuinely clean, renewable energy and energy resources that prioritize benefits and opportunities for environmental justice communities.” 

“We need a renewable electricity standard that commits the United States to a transformation of our energy system towards solar, wind, and other renewable resources — not false solutions like carbon capture and sequestration,” said Johanna Bozuwa, Manager of the Climate & Energy Program at the Democracy Collaborative. “In particular, the United States should actively open up space for distributed renewables like rooftop solar so that we are building the most resilient and justice-centered energy system possible.” 

The letter calls for a truly renewable energy standard that reaches the goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, with an emphasis on distributed energy resources and storage. Such a plan should exclude polluting practices and unproven technologies like waste incineration, carbon capture, and factory farm biogas.

A recent analysis shows that over 60 percent of the electricity generated by gas power plants in 2019 could generate clean energy compliance credits even under the most aggressive existing CES proposal. A separate technical report highlights the failure of the CLEAN Future Act to meaningfully reduce emissions over the next decade and beyond.

Newsom Expands California Drought Emergency, Commits $5.1 Billion to Water Infrastructure and Debt Relief

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Clean Water

Sacramento, CA — Governor Gavin Newsom announced an expansion of the drought emergency to 41 of the state’s 58 counties, dedicating $5.1 billion to boost water infrastructure and an additional $1 billion to paying off nearly the entirety of Californian household water debt. Yet, while the governor’s plan includes $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling measures, it does nothing to speed up the process to bring overdrafted water basins into full and sustainable operation. The deadline is currently 2040 for critically overdrafted basins and 2042 for remaining high and medium priority basins.

“It’s gratifying to see Governor Newsom addressing the critical water supply issues in our state and providing much-needed water debt relief, but ultimately his drought relief plan mirrors his approach to oil and gas drilling,” said Food & Water Watch California Director Alexandra Nagy. “The current Sustainable Groundwater Management Act sets a deadline of 2040 to bring our most overdrafted and stressed water basins into sustainable operation. The people relying on that groundwater need it now, not 19 years from now. And just as obviously, the governor could divert the massive amount of water needed for fracking to help Californians going thirsty if he banned the practice now. We need Gov. Newsom to step up his timeline. Our frontline communities shouldn’t have to wait on his political will.”

The dry vast majority of critically overdrafted water basins are in the Central Valley, one of the poorest regions in the country and home to water-intensive extractive practices like fracking and factory farming. Gov. Newsom has committed to banning new fracking permits by 2024, allowing continued fossil fuel extraction and water usage until that time. He has taken no action to ban factory farms or curb their water intake. 

Contact: Jessica Gable – [email protected]

Grassroots Clean Energy Campaigns Ramp Up in Five New Jersey Towns

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Climate and Energy

Food & Water Watch is launching new petition campaigns in five cities and towns to help create community choice aggregation programs, marking a notable expansion of the group’s ongoing work to move the state off dirty energy.

The simultaneous petition drives in Woodbridge, North Brunswick, Cherry Hill, Teaneck and Long Branch are part of the group’s yearslong campaign to build local support for moving off fossil fuels and onto 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030. The campaign is backed by a broad coalition of environmental, social justice and grassroots community groups across the state. 

“I believe in the power of grassroots activism and local solutions. We have the ability to transition Teaneck’s power from fossil fuels to renewable sources,” said State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. “It’s in our hands to decide if our community will be sustainable or not. I encourage my friends and neighbors to join me.”

The grassroots campaigns are based on state laws that give residents of more than half of New Jersey municipalities the power to directly petition local governments to consider a specific ordinance. Once presented with that ordinance, a governing body can either pass it as presented, or put the question to voters to decide. 

In each municipality, organizers and residents will work together to collect the signatures necessary to have local councils vote on the ordinance.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Teaneck voters to bring a 100% renewable energy CCA program to our community. While our Environmental Commission supported CCA, the Teaneck Township Council refused to adopt an ordinance, “said Paula Rogovin, Teaneck resident of 38 years. “So we’re asking youth and people of all ages to reach out to get Teaneck voters to sign a petition to put a referendum on the ballot in November. Everyone in Teaneck can participate in the effort to grow renewable energy in our region and to help stop climate change.” 

A state law enacted in 2003 (the Government Energy Aggregation Act) has led to the creation of community choice energy programs, which give residents the power to buy electricity in bulk, an arrangement that saves money on residents’ energy bills. A growing number of communities across the country are using them to increase their use of clean, renewable energy.

Food & Water Watch has worked with residents to win similar 100% clean energy programs in Edison, New Brunswick, Collingswood, Asbury Park, Piscataway, East Brunswick, South Brunswick and Red Bank, and has a goal of enacting the policy in 10 addition towns and cities this year to put more than one million New Jersey residents on a path to achieve 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030.

“As climate change threatens our vulnerable coastal communities, Red Bank’s future and the future of the Jersey Shore is under siege,” said Red Bank Councilwoman Kate Triggiano. “It is our responsibility as elected officials to protect the environment, and Red Bank’s 100 percent renewable community aggregation program is one way we can be leaders in the fight for a healthy and resilient future.”

“Even while deeply feeling the existential threat of climate change, it’s sometimes hard for citizens to envision a role in reversing it,” said Katie Ingersoll of Collingswood Progressive Democrats. “The campaign for CCA in Collingswood, NJ prompted necessary conversations about direct local action to protect our climate and allowed residents to come together to take a step forward. Now that our leaders have committed to a local CCA program we are excited to see it implemented and work with neighboring towns to grow this opportunity in our region.”

Food & Water Watch, a national advocacy group with an office in New Brunswick, started its CCA advocacy program with a successful petition drive in 2018 that created the first-of-its-kind 100 percent renewable energy program in New Brunswick. Their efforts expanded to Piscataway the following year, where voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to create the program.

“This is a truly grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor campaign that brings real climate action to the local level,” said Food & Water Watch New Jersey State Director Matt Smith. “While we take these actions to build clean energy and clean up climate pollution, we’re also building a stronger democracy by organizing with community members and building popular support for bold solutions to the climate crisis.” 

New York Panel Recommends Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Plants

Categories

Climate and Energy

Albany, NY — Today, the Power Generation Advisory Panel delivered its official recommendation to the state’s Climate Action Council regarding fossil fuel infrastructure. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act set standards to ensure zero statewide emissions for the electric generation sector by 2040. To meet those standards, the Panel recommended a moratorium on new and repowered fossil fuel plants, and urged comprehensive regulations to close current fossil fuel-powered plants.

The decision is a victory for the communities who have been mobilizing against dirty fossil fuel plants statewide. Should Governor Cuomo heed the advice of his own advisory panel, the Danskammer plant in the Hudson Valley, the Astoria NRG plant in Queens and the Gowanus plant in Brooklyn would all be shut down.

In response, Food & Water Watch Northeast Region Director Alex Beauchamp issued the following statement:

“The writing is on the wall for fossil fuel infrastructure in New York. New Yorkers have been adamant for years that fossil fuels cannot be a part of the rapid climate action we must pursue in order to avert the worst of climate disaster. New York’s official expert panel on power generation has taken a bold and necessary step today — now Governor Cuomo must heed their advice and put a moratorium on fossil fuel infrastructure in New York, starting with Danskammer, Astoria and Gowanus.”

Colonial Pipeline Shutdown Spotlights Need for Safe, Distributed Clean Energy Networks

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Climate and Energy

Washington, D.C. – Since an apparent crippling cyberattack last Friday, the Colonial pipeline – a primary source of petroleum products for the U.S. East Coast – has been shut down. A prolonged shutdown poses a threat to consumer financial security if gasoline prices continue to rise, as well as a grave public safety threat if the volatile, explosive contents of the pipeline somehow become unstable. In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“The ongoing shutdown of the Colonial pipeline is just the latest in a long litany of examples of why we must urgently transition off of highly vulnerable and dangerous fossil fuel networks. Given the centralized nature of major fossil fuel pipelines, a disruption anywhere along the line can adversely impact tens of millions of people, as we are seeing now. And this says nothing of the grave threat posed by the highly flammable, explosive petroleum products flowing through these pipelines. Any deviation from normal operation elevates the inherent risk posed to communities on the front lines of these pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure. 

“Wind and solar power networks are by their very nature more distributed, more sensibly scaled, and more resilient than fossil fuel systems. And of course, unlike fossil fuels, clean wind and solar power pose no threat to our climate. This latest pipeline disruption makes it ever more clear: We must break free from dangerous fossil fuel dependance, now.”

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected], 917.363.6615