Making a Sound Investment in Energy

March 2016 E-news

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Some events over the last few weeks are a reminder that we should take pause to fully assess the energy sources that we, residents of Westchester County, are investing in.

Over the course of four weeks our backyard has endured a ‘radioactive’ water leak from Indian Point Energy Center, and a home-heating oil spill contaminating the Bronx River. Not to mention there has been the ongoing battle concerning the high-pressure natural gas AIM pipeline expansion, which has received countless calls demanding construction to be halted.

We think it is high time that we collectively take stock and reevaluate where we want our energy to come from.

Background:

Indian Point ‘radioactive’ water leak

Indian Point has been at the center of many contentious discussions for decades. The facility is aging, and for years there have been reports of cracks, spills, and accidents. On Tuesday, February 6th, it was reported that Indian Point recorded a severe spike in radioactive, tritium-contaminated water at several monitoring wells[i]. The follow-up tests done a few days later on February 10th noted that the highest concentration was 80% higher than originally reported.

This leak is a major concern; it potentially threatens the health of the Westchester’s residents and environment. Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken steps to address this issue, starting a state investigation into the nuclear facility[ii]. Entergy, the company that owns the Indian Point facility, states that this latest leak should be of no concern to the public.

Home-heating oil spill contaminating the Bronx River

On Saturday, February 28th as much as 600 gallons of home-heating oil contaminated the Bronx River[iii]when a truck delivering to an apartment complex in Yonkers began to leak.

Approximately 2,100 gallons of oil spilled onto the roadway, of which 600 gallons drained down the storm drain on the road.[iv] The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Coast Guard were notified, and are staying on top of the situation.

Let’s make a sound investment:

We know that accidents happen, due to either human or mechanical error, mistakes are a normal occurrence in our daily lives – we get it. However we also think that these latest events are a window into the real risks these energy sources pose.

Renewable energy offers significant public health and environmental benefits. Air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer; and replacing these energy sources with renewables has been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and reduced overall healthcare costs.[v]

 


 

We think it is time to seriously invest in safer, greener, renewable fuels and move away from potentially contaminating sources.

[i] Riverkeeper, Environmental and Health Organizations Call for Immediate Indian Point Shutdown (http://www.riverkeeper.org/news-events/news/stop-polluters/power-plant-cases/indian-point/environmental-and-health-organizations-call-for-immediate-indian-point-shutdown/)

[ii] LOHUD, NY to probe ‘radioactive’ water leak at Indian Point, 2/6/16 (http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/politics-on-the-hudson/2016/02/06/ny-probe-radioactive-water-leak-indian-point/79929984/)

[iii] LOHUD, Oil truck leaking near Bronx River, 2/27/16 (http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2016/02/27/oil-truck-leaking-near-bronx-river/81030662/)

[iv] DEC- DHSES Statement on Heating Oil Spill in Yonkers, NY (http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/NYSDEC/bulletins/1399a46?reqfrom=share)

[v] Machol, Rizk. 2013. Economic value of U.S. fossil fuel electricity health impacts. Environment International 52 75–80 (http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/public-benefits-of-renewable.html#references)

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Greening Your Blue Jeans

March 2016 E-News

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Dungarees, Levi’s, daisy dukes, denim – whatever you call them, blue they use a lot of water.

We all wear blue jeans, they are an American staple. But what is less commonly known, is how heavily the textile industry relies on water. To make one pair of stonewashed jeans requires about 500 gallons of water to grow, dye and process the cotton[i].

Americans throw away about 11.1 million tons of textiles annually (clothes, blankets, towels, etc)[ii] – that is a lot of water going to waste. This concern is becoming increasingly more important as the south-western United States continues to face extreme drought conditions[iii]. Access to water is only going to become more difficult due to climate change and demand, therefore we need a solution. One that is becoming increasingly popular, especially in our area is textile recycling.

Textile recycling companies see an opportunity to capitalize on the old t-shirts and blue jeans being thrown away. SpinGreen is an example of one such company operating in the New York Metro Area. SpinGreen advertises that “a stained t-shirt can turn into a wiping cloth, lone socks can turn into pillow stuffing, old denim can be turned into housing insulation, and teddy bears can be turned into car seat stuffing…[iv]” By finding a use for this often discarded resource, SpinGreen and other companies have found a way to profit while keeping organic products out of landfills.

SpinGreen has customized bins set up at various locations throughout our area, and they even offer a Green Concierge service. Keep an eye out for one in your neighborhood!

 


 

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/polina-groman/recycling-textiles-quench_b_5413363.html

[ii] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/polina-groman/recycling-textiles-quench_b_5413363.html

[iii] http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

[iv] http://www.spingreen.com/faq/