Monday, March 31, 2008

Final Indian Point Nuclear Leak Report Submitted to NRC

GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. (GZA) submitted the Hydrogeologic
Site Investigation Report
[Executive Summary]for the Indian Point Energy Center to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on January 7, 2008. The report provides a summary of the investigative methods, findings/conclusions and recommendations for work conducted from September 2005 through the end of September 2007. The report presents the results of a two-year comprehensive hydrogeologic site investigation of the Indian Point Energy Center (Site) conducted by GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. (GZA).

The study was initiated in response to a release of Tritium to the subsurface, initially discovered in August of 2005 during Unit 2 construction activities associated with the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation Project. These investigations were subsequently expanded to include areas of the Site where credible potential sources of leakage might exist, and encompassed all three reactor units. Ultimately, these investigations traced the contamination back to two separate structures, the Unit 2 and Unit 1 Spent Fuel Pools (SFPs). The two commingled plumes, resulting from these SFPs releases, have been fully characterized and their extent, activity and impact determined. The two primary radionuclide contaminants of interest were found to be Tritium and Strontium.

The report concludes:
"At no time have analyses of existing Site conditions yielded any indication of potential adverse environmental or health risk. In fact, radiological assessments have consistently shown that the releases to the environment are a small percentage of regulatory limits."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

RGGI RFP Released For Market Monitoring Services

On March 26, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. ( RGGI, Inc.) released a request for proposals for market monitoring services. The RFP outlines a request for monitoring services for RGGI CO2 allowance auctions and the secondary RGGI allowance market.RGGI, Inc. is a non-profit corporation formed to provide technical advisory services to the RGGI participating states in the development and implementation of the CO2 Budget Trading Program under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The RFP.

All communications regarding this RFP should be addressed to Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), which is facilitating communication related to the RFP on behalf of RGGI, Inc.

Contact information and submittal instructions are specified in the RFP.

Key dates for the RFP include:

1) A due date for proposal submissions of April 30, 2008, by 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

2) Submission of Notice of Intent (NOI) to Propose forms are due by 5:00 pm EST on April 4.

The NOI forms are to allow for participation in a proposers conference call. Submission of a Notice of Intent to Propose form and attendance of the conference call are optional.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

News 12 Television To Host Town Meeting on Broadwater

News 12 Long Island is conducting a live Town Meeting on Broadwater, at the Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville on Thursday, March 27th from 7 pm to 8:30pm. Scott Feldman will host the special “Long Island Talks” event featuring 6 panelists and an audience of approximately 350 people. Confirmed panelists include: Suffolk County Executive, Steve Levy; Representative Tim Bishop; Connecticut Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal; Citizens Campaign for the Environment representative, Adrienne Esposito; and Director of Center for Management Analysis at C.W. Post, Dr. Matthew Cardaro (member of New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance).

News 12 Long Island has been covering the Broadwater controversy since the beginning. This town meeting culminates all of the discussion points and allows the general public to voice their opinions prior to the final decision making on the initiative. Anyone is invited to attend in the audience, up to 350 person room capacity. Audience members will be invited to participate with live microphones.

Representatives from Broadwater and Shell Oil were invited to attend as panelists, but declined News 12’s invitation.

WHO: News 12 Long Island
Scott Feldman, anchor/host
Steve Levy, Suffolk County Executive
Rep. Tim Bishop, Congressman, District 1
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Attorney General
Andrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Dr. Matthew Cardaro, Director of Center Management Analysis at C.W. Post

WHERE: Brookhaven Town Hall, One Independence Hill, Farmingville, NY 11738

WHEN/TIME: Thursday, MARCH 27: 7 PM – 8:30 PM (live program on News 12 Long Island)

CONTACTS: Debi Gade, News 12 Long Island, 516-393-1070

Friday, March 21, 2008

FERC Approves Final EIS For Broadwater LNG Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the $700 million Broadwater Energy (Shell & TransCanada) floating liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) terminal proposed to be built in the middle of Long Island Sound. The 1,200-foot-long, 82-foot-high floating storage and regasification terminal is designed to supply 1.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day to New York and Connecticut -- enough to generate electricity for 4 million homes. The facility would be about 10.2 miles off Guilford in the middle of the Sound. A 22-mile pipeline extending from the terminal to a underwater interconnection with the Iroquois Gas Transmission System would bring the gas onshore.

According to FERC:

"Based on all available scientific facts, we approve the Broadwater project today... it can meet the projected energy needs for New York City, Long Island and Connecticut, and can provide the service safely, securely and with limited adverse impact on the environment. Without increased natural gas supplies in the region, consumers will experience higher prices and reduced reliability of natural gas supply."
LNG is natural gas super cooled into a liquid for transportation aboard ocean tankers. When cooled to minus 259 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 162 Celsius), the gas changes into a liquid and shrinks to less than 1/600th of its original volume. LNG accounts for almost 4 percent of total U.S. natural gas supplies, but that is forecast to increase to 17 percent by 2030 (EIA). The project still needs approvals from state agencies before construction can begin. AAEA supports the project. (More AAEA LNG Info)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Update

The states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have released a summary of design elements for conducting regional allowance auctions. In addition, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc.), the non-profit organization set up to provide technical assistance to support the implementation of the RGGI cap-and-trade program by the RGGI participating states, announced the selection of a number of firms to support RGGI implementation. These firms were selected through a competitive RFP process.

A final report containing research and recommendations for the design of a CO2 allowance auction as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has also been released by the research team from the University of Virginia, Resources for the Future, and the California Institute of Technology.

Con Ed Gets Rate Increase

The New York Public Service Commission approved a one year $425 million rate increase for Consolidated Edison on March 19. Con Ed originally requested a $1.2 billion increase. This will translate into a $4.25 increase in the average NYC monthly bill ($5.60 for Westchester County) starting in April. Although ratepayers hate rate increases, and New Yorkers have the highest rates in the country, they are necessary to pay for improvements in the distribution network and to cope with the steady growth of the New York metropolitan region. The average NYC residential customer pays about $70 a month for electricity.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NRC Hearing On Indian Point Considers Preliminary Issues

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board heard oral arguments on whether the NRC should renew the Indian Point nuclear power plant operating license for an additional twenty years on Monday, March 10, Tuesday, March 11, and Wednesday, March 12. The oral arguments were heard at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, from 9 am - 5 pm. Several groups presented their views opposing the renewal of the Indian Point operating license. Opponents included Riverkeeper, and New York State (represented by the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Environmental Conservation).

The point of the preliminary hearing was to determine which issues will have standing in the actual license renewal hearing process. The panel heard concerns about four areas: 1) Terrorism Risks and Severe Accidents, 2) Safety Problems, 3) Killing of Hudson River Fish and Aquatic Life and 4) Radioactive Leaks and Radioactive Waste. AAEA-NY supports the relicensing and has specific concerns about plans of opponents to try to use the false fish egg complaint as a backdoor way to close the plant. Opponents state that:

"Entergy fails to accurately assess the impacts of Indian Point’s cooling water intake system on Hudson River fisheries caused by entrainment, impingement and heat shock (thermal discharge). Using once-through cooling systems, Indian Point withdraws up to 2.5 billion gallons of Hudson River water per day, killing a billion Hudson River fish, eggs, and larvae annually."
We strongly disagree with this contention because fish eggs are threatened by many sources of pollution, particularly poison runoff from cities, towns, farms and residences. Our biggest complaint is that if Indian Point is closed more pollution will be generated from other sources to make up for IP's 2,000 megawatts of emission free electricity. Basically fish, eggs and larvae are being pitted against the lives of asthmatic children in Harlem and the Bronx.

Westchester County Business Journal: Letters To The Editor

To the editor:

Your informative March 3 story, “Greenhouse Gas Key To County Initiative,” talks about many positive steps Westchester businesses are taking and the importance of reducing greenhouse emissions in the county overall. However, all of these good efforts will essentially be wiped away if County Executive Spano has his way and closes Indian Point.

Mr. Spano’s plan to reduce Westchester’s carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2015 will be meaningless if Indian Point is closed. Indian Point emits practically zero carbon emissions. If its power could somehow be replaced by other sources serving New York state (and it can’t), carbon dioxide emissions would increase by 14 million tons annually, not much different than Westchester County’s total 2005 carbon dioxide emissions (13,140,000 tons).

Power generation accounts for more than 33 percent of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. As such, it is unfortunate that the county executive’s report does not discuss electricity power generating sources. One cannot address the carbon dioxide challenge by ignoring one of the major contributing factors.

Without Indian Point, there would need to be at least four more fossil fuel plants in the region – and in addition to carbon dioxide, that would also increase sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions, both of which produce serious negative health issues.

Norris McDonald
President, African American Environmentalist Association
Staten Island

Monday, March 17, 2008

New York Renewable Energy Task Force

In June 2007, Governor Spitzer appointed Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson to chair and convene the Renewable Energy Task Force. The Task Force was charged with identifying barriers to increased production of renewable energy, recommending policies and financial incentives to overcome those barriers, and identifying future market areas where additional research and development investment is necessary. Now that Paterson is the governor he will probably appoint the next lieutenant governor to head the task force.

Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson, Chairman of the State's Renewable Energy Task Force, announced 16 Task Force recommendations on Feb 25 as part of a roadmap to significantly increase renewable energy generation in New York. These first recommendations include:

More solar energy production funding the state's program to get 25 percent of New York's electricity from renewable energy by 2013 and

New business incentives targeted to attract renewable energy producers and expand the State's "green collar" workforce.

Significant recommendations of the Task Force's First Report include:

Developing eight times more solar photovoltaic energy generation in New York - over 100 megawatts by 2011.

Increasing the renewable energy supply in New York State to meet 25 percent of electricity demand by 2013 - and fully funding the Renewable Portfolio Standard to make it happen.

Developing new business incentives to attract renewable energy technology companies to New York in order to build industry clusters in solar, wind, biomass and other technical areas.

Changing the law to allow and encourage New York companies to produce their own renewable energy "on site" and deliver excess power back to the energy grid - known as "net metering."

Developing and supporting a "green collar" workforce of skilled labor to support renewable energy technology companies by coordinating training programs, expanding and enhancing those programs as necessary, and making training opportunities available to residents of disadvantaged communities, minority- and women-owned companies, and other small businesses.
The Task Force set forth key data throughout the Report demonstrating that investment in renewable energy creates jobs and increases tax revenues. Some examples include:
Up to 43,000 new jobs in New York could be created by the renewable energy production needed to meet the requirement that 25 percent of New York's electricity come from renewable sources. See page 26 of the Task Force Report.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency industries could create up to 40 million jobs and generate up to $4.5 trillion in revenue in the United States by 2030 - a four fold increase over current revenues. See page 25 of the Task Force Report.

$1 billion in economic benefits are expected to result over the next 20 years from the roughly $500 million that New York has so far committed in renewable energy funding through the Renewable Portfolio Standard - a 100 percent return on investment not counting economic spillover, multiplier
effects, and environmental quality-of-life gains from renewable energy production.

Pete Grannis Heads Dept of Environmental Conservation

Alexander B. "Pete" Grannis is Commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Mr. Grannis was first elected to the Assembly in 1974 and represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. As a legislator, Grannis was a leader in fighting for the passage of SEQRA, the original bottle bill, and the clean-up and revitalization of the state's brownfields. Mr. Grannis has also played a key role in the enactment of a wide range of environmental legislation, including measures related to acid rain, clean air and water, fluorocarbons and recycling. He chaired the Assembly's first Subcommittee on Toxic Wastes, sponsored legislation ensuring a worker's right to know about hazardous materials in the work place and has worked to regulate the transport, storage and disposal of toxic wastes. Mr. Grannis authored the state's rapid transit noise code and has been at the forefront of the fight to have the MTA convert its polluting diesel bus fleet to clean fuels.

A nationally recognized leader in the fight to curb the health hazards posed by smoking, Mr. Grannis authored New York's 1989 Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) and amendments adopted in 2003 to protect all working men and women from deadly secondhand smoke. His legislative efforts to curb smoking, including the historic CIAA and the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act have received global recongnition. Mr. Grannis’s work has been hailed by numerous public health organizations including the American Cancer Society and the New York State Association of County Health Officials. Mr. Grannis is a three-time winner of the Legislator of the Year award from the Environmental Planning Lobby and was accorded similar honors by the Audubon Society, the Environmental Action Coalition and Environmental Advocates. He also received the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Public Service Award in recognition of his efforts in promoting the humane treatment of animals.

Mr. Grannis lives with his family in New York City. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and the University of Virginia Law School. Prior to entering the Assembly, Mr. Grannis practiced law in New York City and served as Compliance Counsel for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. (Source)

Judith Enck NY Deputy Secretary for the Environment

Judith Enck, right, is Deputy Secretary of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. For the past eight years, Ms. Enck has served as a policy advisor to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s office, she was a Senior Environmental Associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). She has also served as the Executive Director of the Environmental Advocates of New York, a non-profit government watchdog organization dedicated to enforcing laws that protect natural resources and safeguards public health. Ms. Enck received her B.A. from the College of St. Rose.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Governor Paterson Should Approve the Broadwater Project

New York Governor David Paterson will probably follow former Governor Eliot Spitzer's action and delay the decision to approve or deny a permit to allow Broadwater Energy, a consortium of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., to site a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in the middle of Long Island Sound. The New York Department of State was to have decided by April 12 but pushed the decision back for the second time by 60 days from Feb 12. The floating facility would be 1,200-feet-long with an 82-foot-high platform and would be 10 miles offshore. Although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead agency in approving the environmental impact statement, the proposed site in New York and Connecticut waters allows state agencies to block it.

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell opposes the Broadwater project believing that FERC did not adequately consider safer alternatives and did not address the full potential harm to Sound marine life. Gov Rell is also asking NY Governor Paterson to reject the project. Rell commissioned the Long Island Sound LNG Task Force, which recently issued a report that pointed out that FERC neglected its role by creating a flawed, inaccurate and vague analysis of the project while ignoring viable alternatives. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also opposes the Broadwater Project and will sue to stop it if it wins final FERC approval. Leading opposition groups to the $700 million project include the Citizens Campaign for the Environment and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment's Save the Sound program.

AAEA-New York supports the facility plan and presented testimony in support of the project during the 2005 round of FERC and Coast Guard hearings.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Governor David Paterson Has Serious Energy Challenges

Governor David Paterson is inheriting a very bad energy situation. The State of New York is in a crisis that has been avoided by just about every policy-making body and regulatory agency. The largest crisis is reliably meeting future electricity demand. The second crisis is meeting this electricity demand in an environmentally friendly manner. Clean air must always be a priority because much of New York is a Clean Air Act nonattainment area. Next is cost of energy. Not only should energy be available, it should be affordable. It appears that the only electricity generating facilities that will be allowed to be constructed in the short term are natural gas-fired plants. Where will that gas come from and will it be expensive? The answers are nobody knows where it will come from and regardless of its source, it will be very expensive.

The electricity power plant licensing law (Article 10) expired years ago and the state currently has no law on the books to license large power plants. Canada cannot provide enough natural gas to meet our needs, particularly for electricity generation. We need more transmission lines to get more electricity into the state. We also need to build more plants in the state so that we are not captive to expensive electricity imports.

Here are some of our recommendations for Governor Paterson:
1) Prioritize Reauthorizing Article X

2) Approve the Broadwater Project

3) Support the License Renewal of the Indian Point nuclear power plant

4) Support building at least 2 new nuclear power plants in the state.

5) Promote production and use of plug-in, fuell cell hybrid electric vehicles.
Of course we have more recommendations but this would be a good start. AAEA-New York would be happy to support the new governor in his programs to assure affordable and reliable energy in the state.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Climate Protection Act & Stormwater Management Plan

The City Council passed the New York City Climate Protection Act on November 20, 2007 and Mayor Bloomberg signed it on Feb 25, 2008, which requires government buildings to cut emissions by 30% by 2017 and the city overall to meet the same target by 2030. The city emitted 58 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the air in 2005, mostly because of energy consumed by buildings, according to PlanNYC2030. Of course, the city has no legal right to force private companies to go green. Mayor Bloomberg set a similar goal in his ambitious PlanNYC2030 blueprint

Mayor Bloomberg signed legislation requiring creation of a stormwater management plan February 19, 2008. The new law requires the City to conduct a thorough study of stormwater best management practices, determine the estimated costs and benefits of each practice, and provide a stormwater management plan for implementation.

Photo: Environmental Protection Committee Counsel Samara Swanston, Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg - Photo Courtesy: Edward Reed