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)

Building a Green Legacy: An Indiviudal Environmentalist

Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, advancing the scientific truth about climate change

FCWC’s Announces its Three Honorees for its 50th Anniversary Gala on September 26, 2015

FCWC 50th LOGOOn September 26, 2015, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County (FCWC) will be holding its 50th Anniversary Gala to celebrate its achievements over the past five decades. The evening will be held at a private estate in Sleepy Hollow, and will be filled with music, hors d’oeuvres, and good company. We will be marking this milestone event by honoring three of Westchester’s most influential environmental leaders, Pace Law School, Bedford 2020, and Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig.

FCWC took care in the selection of its honorees, as it was important to represent its three founding pillars: Education, Advocacy, and Science. Additionally, due to the significance of this occasion, FCWC wanted to honor an institution, a nonprofit, and an individual. We are delighted to award these outstanding environmental leaders with our Green Legacy Award; we thank them for their environmental contributions to our Westchester community and the world.

We are proud of what our honorees have accomplished in the realm of environmental progress, so would like to provide a little background on each of them.

Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig

RosenzweigDr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, a Westchester resident, is a leader in the field of climate change research, and richly deserves FCWC’s Green Legacy Award. Currently she is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Continue reading

New! A Look into the Past – “Listen to the Sound 2000 Aims to Preserve Open Space”

This is the eighth installment of our “A Look into Our Past” Series, honoring the past five decades of work done by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County. This series revisits some of our best accomplishments by featuring past articles from our original publication “Westchester Environment.”


“Westchester Environment” – Vol. 2000 No. 2, March-April 2000

Listen to the Sound 2000 Aims to Preserve Open Space

Listen to the Sound 2000By Jane-Kerin Moffat, Coordinator of the Listen to the Sound 2000 Campaign

In 1990, area residents described their vision for the Long Island Sound as “…waters are clean, clear, safe to swim in and charged with life…a vision of waters nourished and protected by extensive coastal wetlands, of publicly accessible, litter-free beaches and preserves, and of underdeveloped islands of abundant and diverse wildlife, of flourishing commercial fisheries, of harbors accessible to the boating public, and of a regional consciousness and way of life that protects and sustains the ecosystem.”

Those who are about the estuary are urged to testify at Year 2000 citizens’ hearings to create a Long Island Sound reserve ecosystem – a comprehensive set of permanently protected open space and underwater lands around the Sound. Public testimony will help establish a compelling record of citizen concern for decision-makers at every level of government. It will help establish a consensus on what lands to protect and how, and it will focus public awareness on the need for stewardship of our shorelines.

This process was a success ten years ago. At that time Federated Conservationists was a major cosponsor when National Audubon Society created the first Listen to the Sound Campaign. Subsequently, FCWC was founding member of the Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance, which grew out of that campaign. The 1990 Citizens’ Agenda, which drew on testimony from over 500 area residents, and the ensuing coalition laid the foundation of the federal-state Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the South, which was adopted in 1994.

FCWC has long championed preservation of such waterfront sites as Edith G. Read Sanctuary, Marshlands Conservancy, Jay Heritage Center, and advocated the acquisition of Huckleberry and, of course, Davids Island among other sites. Restoring wetlands and proving pubic access to the Sound are also important parts of FCWC’s mission.

“Greening Our Parks” – Conservation Café

autumn_hyde_parkOn Friday May 29, FCWC and our partners in the “Conservation Café” presented the latest Conversations on Conservation program entitled “Greening our Parks.”

Many parks and open spaces are increasingly looking at how they can advance their missions through sustainable operations on their lands. These can include but are not limited to alternative energy projects, waste reduction initiatives, and pollution prevention projects. By many accounts, our parks and open spaces are leaders in sustainability, yet many of these projects remain secondary attractions to the natural resources that we seek out when visiting these locations. The Conservation Café sought to highlight some regional sustainability initiatives taken by parks in our own backyards.

Alyssa Cobb, the Assistant Commissioner for Parklands and Planning for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation discussed the New York City Community Parks Initiative (CPI). The CPI is an investment in the smaller public parks that are located in New York City’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods where there are higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. The Initiative will engage New Yorkers in rebuilding local parks and reconnect communities to the green spaces right outside their doorsteps. ‘Greening’ is a targeted improvement that the NYC Parks and Recreation Department is looking to incorporate into the CPI. Cobb also noted that stormwater management was a big concern when updating some of the City parks that include significant amounts of impervious surfaces.

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Summary of FCWC’s Federation Meeting

Helping Our Member Organizations Plan for the Future

By Kate Munz, Member Relations Coordinator 

On April 29th, 2015, we hosted our annual Federation Meeting. Each year FCWC hosts this meeting as an opportunity for our Member Organizations to congregate and discuss the current state of Westchester’s Environment. FCWC facilitates networking among the organizations and general attendees, so to help our organizations expand their base and

Dr. Mike Rubbo from Teatown presenting on Teatown's current climate change studies.
Dr. Mike Rubbo from Teatown presenting on Teatown’s current climate change studies.

relationships. We also bring experts on a variety of subjects to the meeting to teach our organizations something we think would be useful. This meeting is about strengthening our “federation” and spreading knowledge.

This year we had representatives from 10 organizations, all of whom had the opportunity to share projects they were working on, and what they would like to see out of their membership of FCWC.

Much of 2015, FCWC’s 50th anniversary year, has been spent pursuing two goals: addressing the topic of climate change and sea level rise, and trying to sustain the nonprofit grassroots fundamentals that FCWC was founded on. Therefore it was on these two topics that we chose our experts. The first speaker of the program was Mike Rubbo, Director of Conservation at Teatown Lake Reservation. He spoke about Teatown’s current environmental projects and the efforts they are making to create a more resilient ecosystem. The second speaker was Lori Ensinger, Executive Director at Westchester Land Trust, who discussed the many intricacies of communicating with a Board of Directors.

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