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Environment New York Research & Policy Center
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The Journal News
By
Jon Campbell

A coalition of environmentalists, renewable energy advocates, elected officials and national groups released a letter today that was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, calling on him to back changes to a regional cap-and-trade program for greenhouse-gas emissions.

New York is one of nine states included in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which requires power plants to purchase carbon credits at auction from the state as a way to cap emissions. It has come under significant criticism from business groups, who say it only drives up costs. Environmental groups, meanwhile, say it needs to be bolstered during a review period that is set to wrap up this year.

The coalition (which includes 307 signatories onto a letter sent to all nine governors) called on Cuomo to back three changes to the program. Specifically, they are looking for stricter rules on issuing and tradingg RGGI permits, a way to insure that the money raised at auction is used only on energy efficiency projects and renewables, and closing a permitting option regarding “offset” projects.

“New York has been a leader in tackling carbon pollution, and RGGI has been a key element of New York’s strategy to reduce pollution from fossil fuels and shift to clean energy,” said David VanLuven, director of Environment New York. “Strengthening RGGI is one of the best ways we can build on our state’s progress on clean energy and on reducing the pollution that causes global warming.”

The Cuomo administration has been looking at making significant changes to the state’s participation in the RGGI program, albeit quietly. In June, Cuomo’s office pushed a bill that would have lowered the state’s carbon emission cap, with the additional money fetched at auction earmarked for solar projects and for communities with shuttered power plants.

Here’s a list of some of the major participants in the coalition:

New York State NGOs

Adirondack Council

Alliance for Clean Energy New York

The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development

Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy

Center for Working Families

Center for Medical Consumers

Chenango Clean Energy Service Corps

Chhaya Community Development Corporation

Citizens Campaign for the Environment

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition

Clean and Healthy New York

Community Environmental Center

Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition

Empire State Future

Environmental Advocates of New York

 

 

Environment New York

Federated Conservationists of Westchester Cnty

Grassroots Environmental Education

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.

Long Island City Business Development Corp.

Long Island Progressive Coalition

Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc. of Staten Island

New York Interfaith Power & Light

New York League of Conservation Voters

New York Solar Energy Industries Association

New York Public Interest Research Group

Northern Westchester Energy Action

NYSUT

NYU Global Greening Initiative

The Oblong Land Conservancy

PEF/EnCon- Division 169 of the NYS Public Employees Federation

PUSH Buffalo

Renewable Energy Long Island

Rural Ulster Preservation Company

Solar One

Sustainable Tompkins

Sustainable South Bronx

Tri-State Transportation Campaign

WESPAC Foundation

New York Businesses

AWS Truepower, LLC

Cowles & Company Contracting

Earth Kind Solar Energy

Energy by Choice

Free Lighting Corp

Kalex Energy Co.

Powersmith Home Energy Solutions

Solaris, LLC

New York Elected Officials

Assembly member Deborah J. Glick

Assembly member Alan Maisel

Assembly member Naomi Rivera

The Honorable Matthew T. Ryan, Mayor of Binghamton

New York City Council member Letitia James

New York Individuals

Arthur H. Kopelman, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and Professor of Science, FIT Department of Science and Mathematics

Theresa Swidorski, Legislative Director for Member of the Assembly Glick

Arnold P. Wendroff, PhD, Mercury Poisoning Project

Stephen O. Wilson, former Executive Director, now Emeritus Hudson River Environmental Society

National and Regional NGOs

Appalachian Mountain Club

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Clean Air Cool Planet

Clean Water Action

Conservation Law Foundation

Conservation Services Group

Consumers Union

Delaware Riverkeeper

Energy Federation, Inc.

Environment America

ENE (Environment Northeast)

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Entrepreneurs

Health Care Without Harm

Interfaith Power and Light

National Association of Energy Service Contractors

National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low income clients

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

New England Clean Energy Council

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships

Public Citizen

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Union of Concerned Scientists