Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Environment and the Tappan Zee Bridge

A Bridge Too Far for the EPA

In a blow to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s bridge plan, the agency denied most of a $511 million request, saying it was not for environmental use.* The EPA determined that $29 million of the plan to build the Tappan Zee bridge is a valid use of clean water funds, but the rest of the project – or $482 million – is not eligible for that cash.*“(T)he bridge construction was never dependent on this loan in the first place,” said Cuomo, who plans to appeal the EPA decision. “This was never part of the planning for the bridge financing in the first place.”

THE OTHER INVESTIGATION -- “Loan probe could expose Cuomo influence on public boards,” by Scott Waldman: “The head of the independent agency investigating part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to use $500 million in clean water funds for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project doesn't usually draw much attention. … But David Kidera, the director of the normally obscure Authorities Budget Office, is in a position to make news at the moment, as his once-obscure agency investigates whether the Environmental Facilities Corporation—a board largely controlled by the governor—failed in its fiduciary duties when it approved a $511 million loan to the Thruway Authority that was recently invalidated by federal regulators.
Making the situation even more interesting for Kidera, who said he hasn't heard from Cuomo on the matter, is the fact that Cuomo can replace him at any time. “We're going to do what we're required to do under the statute,” Kidera said. “My term expiring is secondary to doing the job.”http://capi.tl/1sbhs5t
WHAT ‘BRIDGEGATE’ AND THE N.F.L. HAVE IN COMMON — Salon’s Blake Zeff: N.F.L.CommissionerRoger Goodell and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie exemplify a trend in executive style—leading an organization while pleading ignorance when scandals happen on their watch.http://bit.ly/1oef9Ym

BridgeGate II?
InvestigatIon into Andrew Cuomo's dirty money for Tappan Zee.(Capital)
NJ Gov. Chris Christie, when asked to comment on the Moreland mess, said: Come up with another question; you’re wasting your time.”* Christie doubled down against GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, saying: “I don’t have the juice to make a 37-point race a competitive one.” More trouble for Cuomo's incompetent, smoke and mirror administration. A 4$ billion bridge; no way to pay for

Show us the money, gov http://nypost.com/2014/09/21/show-us-the-money-gov/

* Now that the EPA has rejected using a $511 million loan from a clean water fund for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project, it is imperative for the state to reveal the financing plan, the Buffalo News writes: http://goo.gl/hQWc39

Environmental Agency Approves $511 Million Loan for Tappan Zee Replacement(NYT)

* New York’s plan to shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant is uneconomical and growing demand would only push electric costs higher, the Post writes: http://goo.gl/r7e9Nu

 Loan Sought for Tappan Zee Work Is FaultedA plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the agency building a new Tappan Zee Bridge to borrow a half-billion dollars provided under the federal Clean Water Act has come under fire from nine environmental and transportation groups.

* State records show that two Fortune 500 companies that transport most of the crude oil through New York are contributing to the state's oil spill fund at a much lower rate than other energy companies, Capital New York reports: http://goo.gl/wl90tp
* As New York awaits a decision from the state’s highest court on whether communities have the right to apply local zoning laws to ban the use of land for oil and gas activities, several local governments in many states are regulating fracking, WAMC reports: http://goo.gl/eHKaDy

* The shale gas boom spurred by fracking and horizontal drilling is bigger in the United States than anyone thought it would be—natural gas derived from shale now makes up a full half of production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration—and it has created a glut of cheap energy, Smithsonian reports: http://goo.gl/CrLtkC

* Environmental groups and Cuomo’s political opponents are knocking the governor’s announcement yesterday that a $511 million loan from the state’s Environmental Facilities Corp. will help fund the new Tappan Zee Bridge, saying the money was meant for clean-water projects, Gannett Albany reports: http://goo.gl/CbWsLL

* Cuomo has unveiled a plan to transform New York’s electric grid by encouraging small businesses and residents to produce more of their own energy while shifting electricity generation away from traditional, large power plants; but the last round of energy-sector deregulation received mixed reviews, City & State reports: http://goo.gl/EagVQW
* City & State explores Cuomo’s plan to inject $1 billion into his NY-Sun Initiative in an effort to expand solar power throughout the state and refine existing programs that deal with the renewable method of energy generation: http://goo.gl/tv72I8
* A solar company led by the founder of Tesla Motors is working with the state to build one of the world's largest solar manufacturing facilities in Buffalo, which could create more than a thousand jobs, Capital New York reports: http://goo.gl/HQ2j3d

SHORT-TERM BROWNFIELDS EXTENSION: The state legislature introduced a last-minute compromise bill that would extend two environmental cleanup programs, but the legislation falls short of a more ambitious overhaul, City & State reports: http://goo.gl/pNT6LR

* Robert Lurie, the senior vice president for strategic planning at the New York Power Authority, was elected executive vice president and chief financial officer by the agency’s board of trustees, the Business Journal reports: http://goo.gl/oE4EC8
* The New York League of Conservation Voters recommends six changes to de Blasio’s budget, including a clearer funding plan for the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and PlaNYC and restored funding for the city’s Clean Heat program: http://goo.gl/9wxz6J
* At the top of the environmental agenda for the rest of the legislative session in Albany are unsafe products, climate resiliency, hydrofracking waste and the black market for ivory, City & State reports: http://goo.gl/IpA0te
* As Cuomo sets in motion an effort to completely overhaul the state’s energy market, state lawmakers are pursuing legislation largely in line with his goals, City & State reports: http://goo.gl/0z3KZY

* Assemblywoman Patricia Faye has introduced legislation that would require oil storage terminals that handle Bakkan crude or tar sands oil, such as the Port of Albany, to put up financial guarantees to cover the multimillion-dollar costs of cleaning up spills, fires and explosions, Times Union reports: http://goo.gl/4WuKvW
* A statewide AARP survey shows seven of every 10 New York voters 50 and older don't think their elected officials are doing enough to help when home energy costs increase, while nearly eight of every 10 favor an independent utility consumer advocate, Insurance New Net reports: http://goo.gl/L3wtsj
* A proposal to require labels on food products containing ingredients from genetically modified crops is inching closer to a vote in the New York State Legislature, with the endorsement of the Assembly’s key Committee on Codes, the Associated Press reports: http://goo.gl/uT8ZET

New wind turbines are popping up on rooftops in NYC.

City Program Would Pay for Environmentally Friendly Toilets

 i would have guessed Gowanus RT : The most radioactive place in NYC is in Ridgewood, Queens

* The federal government issued a report showing the northeastern U.S. is already feeling the effects of climate change, with sea-level rise above the global average, extreme downpours and poor weather for crops, Columbia University’s Earth Institute reports: http://goo.gl/HNgFUh
* The state Assembly voted unanimously to ban the plastic microbeads found in some soaps and cosmetics—a measure also supported by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman—spurred by concerns that the tiny beads are causing environmental damage in lakes, rivers and streams, Plastics News reports: http://goo.gl/6KZQz8
* The U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold rules curbing air pollution that blows into New York from upwind states is great news for Adirondack Park, where the lakes used to be dead zones for wildlife due to acid rain, the Post-Standard reports: http://goo.gl/9pfk1J

Superfund Site Is Designated in Queens(NYT)

The Environmental Protection Agency has found elevated radioactivity levels in the Ridgewood section of the borough, stemming from thorium dumped there over 60 years ago.

Cuomo agreed to expand the state’s solar energy industry with $1 billion in incentives for photovoltaic systems through 2023.
Three years into a four-year plan to end use of No. 6 heating oil, a heavy pollutant, in 10,000 city buildings, barely more than half have switched to cleaner oil.

* In a major environmental victory for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants that wafts from 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states to states like New York and Connecticut, The New York Times reports: http://goo.gl/Z7Omg0
* Gotham Gazette sat down with Dan Zarrilli, director of New York City’s newly created Office of Recovery and Resiliency and formerly of the Bloomberg administration’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, to talk about how the city plans to prepare for climate change: http://goo.gl/kpPtCF
* The New York League of Conservation Voters is rolling out a new ad campaign aimed at getting Mayor de Blasio to prioritize sustainability in his forthcoming housing plan, the Daily News reports: http://goo.gl/OpGA64
* In an op-ed in City & State Heather Leibowitz, campaign director for Environment New York, outlines the progress the state has made in combating global climate change and calls for federal action to set a national limit on carbon pollution from power plants: http://goo.gl/D4VoLz
* Both the state’s Brownfield and Superfund cleanup programs are soon set to expire and environmentalists are pushing legislators and the governor to renew their funding before the end of the session, City & State reports: http://goo.gl/g7ZueM

Javits' Green Roof

NEW YORK'S GREEN GIANT: Javits Center gets seven-acre energy-efficient grassy roof as part of $465M renovation(NYDN)





Albany’s Perilous Oil Boom(NYT)

Tank cars are accidents waiting to happen, and regulators at all levels should take steps to reduce the risks.
John Catsimatidis has been investing in oil and biofuel companies. Mr. Catsimatidis’ United Metro Energy purchased Direct Energy Business' heating-oil holdings from Hess Corp. last month. That deal, coupled with his acquisition of a ConocoPhillips' petroleum terminal in Riverhead, L.I., and his purchase of a Brooklyn biofuel processing plant, makes United Metro one of the largest players in New York's heating-oil industry. [Crain’s New York Business]


 Electric company FirstEnergy agreed to work toward reducing carbon emissions after shareholders, including the New York State Pension Fund, pressured the company to do so, The New York Times writes: 
* State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is asking for Entergy Corporation, the owner of Indian Point power plant, to publish semi-annual reports detailing major safety incidents at its 10 nuclear power plants, the Journal News reports:
More on the Environment
Bloomberg's Crap Out

Bloomberg Falls Short on the Out Houses
Bloomberg falls short on public restrooms(NYP) Hizzoner can brag about Manhattan’s beautiful High Line and the gleaming new ballparks in The Bronx and Queens once his 12-year tenure ends, but at least one mission remains incomplete: installing 20 public restrooms throughout the city. So far, only three loos have been plumbed since Bloomberg boldly announced in September 2005 that he’d install 20 throughout the city.
What A Waste

WHAT A WASTE! Despite 3.2 million tons of commercial trash piling up in city only 40% is recycled or composted(NYDN)

"I Don't Want to Live In A City That Has Air That I Cannot See" John Lindsay
New York City air is the cleanest among American cities, touts Mayor Bloomberg(NYDN)
Bloomberg touted a survey that found that air pollution has improved in New York City, as sulfur dioxide levels have dropped by 69 percent since 2008, while soot pollution has dropped by more than 23 percent (NYT)

Westside Waste Transfer Station
Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against New York City over the controversial waste transfer station planned for the Upper East Side, say the pier currently under construction for the station would be susceptible to floodwater, the Daily News writes: http://nydn.us/16AU3y0

Water Tunnel #3
Engineers inspect NYC water tunnel for first time since 1917(NYP) A crucial stage of the Third Water Tunnel is being completed Wednesday– allowing engineers to inspect another water tunnel for the first time in almost 100 years “We haven’t been…* New York City has opened the Third Water Tunnel after 43 years of construction, providing a backup source of water for the city for the first time in decades, The Daily News reports:* NYC ready to inspect 1917 tunnel(NYP) * Finally, Water to Flow in Manhattan(WSJ) *JOB 'WELL' DONE: Mayor Bloomberg opens $4.7B Water Tunnel 150 feet under Central Park — allowing 350M gallons of water to flow under Manhattan daily(NYDN)
Mayor Nanny
City Hall legislating in the shadows(NYP)

Indian Point
The Indian Point nuclear power plant has been cited for more violations than any other nuclear site in the country, though only four of the 384 citations between 2002 and 2012 were for “higher-level” violations, the Associated Press reports:

Liquefied Gas Filing Stations
As early as next year, New York could be home to fuel stations along the state's Thruway to supply liquefied natural gas to fleets of commercial trucks, though opponents say the embrace of these facilities is potentially dangerous, the Syracuse Post-Standard writes

Recycling Styrofoam
In the Daily News, former Gov. George Pataki writes that the best way for New York City to hit its ambitious target of recycling 30 percent of its waste is by expanding the recycling program to include Styrofoam and Plastic #6:* The next mayor of NYC could save some cash on trash disposal, according to the CBC.

The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a bill mandating that New York City slash its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, the Observer reports: 

New Street Lights

Street lights to get energy-efficient replacements(NYP) All 250,000 street lights in the city are going to be replaced with energy-efficient LEDs by 2017, Mayor Bloomberg is announcing Thursday.
City to Fit All Streetlights With Energy-Saving LED Bulbs(NYT)
City's Yellow-Hued 'Horror Movie' Street Lights Are Getting Replaced (WSJ) * NYC To Replace All 250,000 Street Lights With Energy-Efficient Models(NYDN) * City comes up with a bright idea to save $14 million a year(NYDN)

* In celebration of Earth Day, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced “the most sweeping update to New York City’s Air Pollution Control Code since 1975,” according to his office, The Observer reports: http://goo.gl/QjhFa4



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