Discussing Dangerous Energy with Marilyn Elie
SEnRG Goes to a Rally – Tells Officials to Save our Environment
Peekskill, NY February 2, 2017 – Hundreds of activists in eight cities across the state converged on Senator Chuck Schumer’s offices, including 300 at his office in Peekskill, to demand that he show bold leadership to protect public health and the environment from the Trump administration.
With Trump laying out an agenda that threatens fundamental environmental protections, activists are calling on Schumer to demonstrate bold leadership by telling Senators to use every tool at their disposal to challenge this corporate takeover of our democracy. Those at the rally urged Schumer to make sure that there is a full 30 hours of debate over each Cabinet appointment, and to use his tremendous visibility and influence to send a message to the nation about the need to resist Trump’s disastrous appointments and policies.
“As Senate Minority Leader and the most powerful Democrat, Senator Schumer has a responsibility to rally his fellow Democrats to join him in opposing Trump’s Cabinet of corporate cronies and climate change deniers,” said Greta Zarro, New York Organizer, Food & Water Watch. “In the months ahead, Senator Schumer must be outspoken and tenacious in blocking Trump’s climate-destroying plans to defund the EPA and to expand the network of polluting pipelines across our nation.”
Nancy Vann, President of Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG) said “Senator Schumer has now voted for four
Trump nominees: Mattis for DOD, Kelly for Homeland Security, Pompeo for the CIA and Haley as Ambassador to the U.N. Each has an influence on environmental issues. For example, Homeland Security needs to strenuously oppose the Spectra-Algonquin pipeline expansion next to the Indian Point nuclear plant, a well-known terrorist target. Schumer promises to vote against other Trump nominees but we need action and leadership, not words and collaboration.
Republicans blocked President Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court for a full 293 days. Surely Democrats can halt the rush to destroy our environment and so many of the things that have made America great.”
Peekskill City Councilwoman Kathie Talbot: “Our federal Democratic elected officials must be aggressive in their opposition to President Trump’s agenda and regularly communicate with their constituencies . . . . especially regarding climate change and the Affordable Care Act.”
Susan Van Dolsen, Co-Founder of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) and Co-Organizer of
Westchester for Change: “Senator Schumer, as leader of the Democratic Caucus and a very powerful voice in our country, must show leadership by rejecting nominees that don’t pass the basic litmus test of experience and competence. . . . We also expect Senator Schumer to use his position to publicly challenge all of the egregious actions that the Trump administration is taking to undermine democratic norms.”
Vanessa Agudelo, former intern for Senator Schumer and local Peekskill activist said “Schumer voted in favor of Trump’s first 4 nominations; we are past the point of conciliating because there is no compromising with a tyrant! I implore him to stop supporting Trump’s agenda in its entirety, and to obstruct using any means possible.”
Schumer’s January 30 announcement that he would vote against several Trump nominees is a sign that he is hearing the message coming from the grassroots. Voting against oil and gas insiders is just the first step to resisting Trump’s anti-environmental agenda; bigger battles over clean air regulations, climate change, and fossil fuel drilling are on the horizon.
The simultaneous actions took place at all eight of Schumer’s offices (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Peekskill, Melville, and Manhattan). Sponsoring organizations include WESPAC, Peekskill NAACP, Food & Water Watch, Croton Climate Initiative, Resist Spectra, Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG), Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network, Westchester for Change, Up & Up Action Initiative, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), The Sierra Club, Rockland United, Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS, Climate Hawks Vote, Public Citizen.
At a Windy Vigil to Stop the AIM Pipeline:
SEnRG President Nancy Vann Speaks at Press Conference Announcing Statewide Coalition to Stop Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
Running late on fossil fuels fight
By Christine Macpherson, Commentary
Published 4:49 pm, Thursday, June 16, 2016
On Tuesday, I stood on the State Capitol’s Million Dollar Staircase again with many other New Yorkers from across the state to demand that our leaders in Albany take action on energy issues that are critical to our communities now and to our survival into the future. I stood as part of a newly formed coalition of groups called United Against Fossil Fuels. We are raising the bar on what is deemed acceptable when it comes to continued reliance on fracked gas and oil within our beloved state.
Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the DEC have made some great decisions recently, such as the fracking ban, rejecting the Constitution Pipeline permit, and vetoing Port Ambrose LNG, the problem of fracking infrastructure remains serious and deadly. There are too many projects being built in New York now or planned to come online in the next few years, and they not only put New Yorkers at risk, they make us unwitting supporters of the fracking of our neighbors in other states.
The contrast between accepting these new facilities as necessary “for now” and just not allowing them poses a very simple proposition: Do we want our planet to be inhabitable in the coming decades, or are we going to continue doing the same old thing over and over at grave risk to our species and every other species that lives here?
Will we accept as good enough the declaration that we will transition to 50 percent renewables by 2030 — with a great portion of that plan directly reliant on fracked gas — or will we respond appropriately to the unprecedented urgency of the climate crisis by putting great minds and all necessary capital into an immediate and uncompromisingly rapid switch to non-fossil fuel and non-nuclear energy sources?
The first step toward the latter approach — what I like to call the non-extinction proposition — is to immediately halt current construction of both the CPV Valley Fracked Gas Power Plant in Orange County, and the expansion of the AIM Pipeline in the lower Hudson Valley, both of which will ensure the reliance on fracked gas and the poisoning of our communities for decades to come. There are many steps to take right after that, with the scope of planned projects too long to list here.
To believe that we cannot accurately assess the magnitude of our current crisis and respond accordingly is to admit we are powerless against our own destructive habits. The Cuomo administration is fond of using slogans meant to remind the country and the world of how tough, determined, and innovative New Yorkers are. Let’s live up to those mottos. Actions speak louder than words. We are already running very late.
SEnRG President Nancy Vann Speaks at Albany ‘State of the State’ Rally
Watch it here
SEnRG Vice President Courtney Williams Discusses the ‘Montrose 9’ Trial:
Click here to listen:
SEnRG President Nancy Vann on WBAI
Tuesday, March 29th at 8PM
Next Eco-Logic This Tuesday, March 29, 8PM. WBAI, 99.5FM or http://www.wbai.org
Civil disobedience ( cd ) is an American tradition going back to before the American Revolution in 1776. When people feel the law is on the wrong side, it is their duty to change it and until it is changed, oppose it. I have two guests who have been involved with doing cd.
On Dec. 12, when the second Indian Point nuclear reactor started operating without a license, and the government agency charged with regulating the nuclear industry, the NRC, allowed it to operate anyway, 11 people blockaded the plant until they were arrested. During the trial, they pleaded “guilty and proud of it.”
Sally Gellert was one of the 11. She’s from New Jersey, is a member of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition and the Stony Point Convergence and is an organizer of the Safe Energy Summit on April 29-May 1. (Which wehope you will attend. For more information on that, go to http://stonypointcenter.org/get-involved/latest-news/228-safeenergy0116 .)
Nancy Vann is a landowner in Westchester County of property that the Spectra Pipeline Co. took via eminent domain to build the Algonquin Pipeline Extension, a larger-than-usual high pressure methane pipeline (marketed as “natural gas.”) being built to bring fracked methane to the Atlantic coast to be liquified and exported to Europe and Asia.
Nancy was dragged from her seat at a FERC meeting and onto the floor (FERC is the federal agency that approves all the interstate pipeline projects). Nancy is the president of Safe Energy Rights Group, Inc. http://www.senrg.org/ and a member of Resist AIM, https://resistaim.wordpress.com/
Tune in to listen to these two heroines tell their stories.
WBAI, 99.5FM & www.wbai.org
Wow – didn’t expect this!
Some problems with the details but the first and second entries are really good news for our SAPE, SEnRG, and ResistAIM efforts: The Examiner News “Salutes & Salvos” for 2015
SEnRG to be Honored by Walkabout Clearwater
Please join us for this musical event at 7:30pm on Saturday, March 12th
Peekskill Resident [and SEnRG President] Nancy Vann Refuses to Leave Her Own Property, Effectively Stopping Clearcutting for Dangerous Pipeline That Would Run 105ft From Indian Point
Cortlandt, NY – Local resident Nancy Vann stopped clearcutting through the Reynolds Hills area today by standing within 300 feet of where construction crews were scheduled to begin clearing trees to make way for the AIM pipeline, a high-pressure 42 inch-diameter gas pipeline being built without the permission of the community. She was joined by Peekskill Councilmember Kathleen Talbot, who stood nearby to show support. By standing within 300 feet of the clearcutting site, worker crews cannot proceed without violating their own safety guidelines.
Vann says that she is taking a stand for the safety of the whole region. “They claim to be concerned about my safety – but what about the safety of the 20 million people at risk from a pipeline accident at Indian Point? Or the thousands at risk from asthma and other health problems in this environmental justice community?”
Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project would involve building a high-pressure 42-inch diameter pipeline within 100 feet of critical structures of Indian Point and would expose local communities to toxic emissions from compressor stations along the pipeline path. The pipeline is being built against the wishes of the community and local elected officials, and in the case of Reynolds Hills. Spectra Energy has used eminent domain to seize property for construction contrary to the will of landowners and homeowners. This has outraged residents and environmental and public safety advocates who point to Spectra’s abysmal safety record as proof that the company cannot be trusted to construct a pipeline safely. A coalition called Resist AIM has formed to stop the project from moving forward.
Years of trying to stop the project through standard regulatory channels has shown that the regulatory agencies involved – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – are unwilling to consider the full impacts of this project. On twitter, Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker has claimed that “federal agencies have failed to protect WC residents,” while State Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Brad Hoylman have both called upon FERC to halt its plans to move forward with the pipeline.
Click here for full article
A short video documenting part of our fight against the AIM pipeline:
SEnRG President Nancy Vann discussed “parkland alienation” and the AIM pipeline project on WBAI:
SEnRG Vice President Courtney Williams in pipeline video featured in The Guardian:
SEnRG President Nancy Vann and Vice President Courtney Williams joined the Art Building in Hastings-on-Hudson
SEnRG President Nancy Vann and Vice President Courtney Williams join SANE Energy and SAPE at a mapping training session in Hastings-on-Hudson
Hezi Aris of WHYT Radio interviewed SEnRG President Nancy Vann on Thursday, September 3rd regarding our recent activities
Click below for the full program:
Hezi Aris – Westchester on the Level
The interview starts at 1:35:09 (1 hour, 35 minutes and 9 seconds into the program)
SEnRG President Nancy Vann (texting) prior to Paul Blanch’s Presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission – along with Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (front), Assemblyman David Buchwald (next), and Brandon Graham from Senator Schumer’s office (next)
Senator Schumer’s representative was “not authorized” to speak for him.
Listen to “Westchester on the Level” Radio Interviews with SEnRG President
“Blue Mountain Park Giveaway”
Segment begins at minute 00:54:35
Segment with Westchester Board of Legislators Majority Leader Catherine Borgia begins at minute 01:14:20
LoHud/Journal News Community View by SEnRG President Nancy Vann
Save Blue Mountain From the Pipeline
by Nancy S. Vann
Any day now, Executive Rob Astorino must make a decision about the future of our beloved Blue Mountain Reservation Park in northern Westchester. The decision involves a massive gas pipeline expansion: Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market project. The pipeline is slated to move hydro-fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England and likely to export. Although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project and authorized the company to start acquiring lands in our communities for the construction, that approval is currently the subject of a Rehearing Request because many important public health and environmental issues were either ignored or inadequately considered. But even before a decision is made on the Rehearing Request, the pipeline project is moving forward.
Blue Mountain Reservation is an asset of untold value to the residents of Westchester County, serving aesthetic, recreational, and environmental values. Currently, Spectra Energy has the right to use some County Parkland for maintenance of an existing pipeline. Those easements – entered into by the County over fifty years ago – come with the company’s obligation to pay for and to restore damage they caused in the Park. Spectra now wants the right to more County Parkland to reduce their construction burden.
The County Executive’s office has been in secret negotiations with Spectra Energy on a deal for use of County Parkland for some time. The problem is that New York State law prohibits the County from making this deal with Spectra. The law is clear. Parkland is so important that it takes the approval of the State Legislature and an environmental review process to change parkland use. Taking County parkland and “temporarily” using it for a massive pipeline construction project is precisely the type of change that must be considered by the Legislature. The scope and scale of the impacts to Blue Mountain prohibit applying any of the very limited exceptions to the full parkland alienation requirements.
What is clearly needed is additional effort to develop a viable and credible plan to preserve, protect and restore Blue Mountain Reservation. Many important pieces of information about Blue Mountain remain unknowns. Information missing from the pipeline review record – from delineating valuable wetlands to understanding the biodiversity living in the Park – is needed to inform any County decisions regarding future use, agreement, or valuation of Reservation property. However there is now precedent for beginning a valuation.
On May 19th, the Town Board of Yorktown voted to accept an offer from Spectra Energy for the temporary use of town-owned parkland at Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls. Under the Yorktown deal, Spectra is to pay $1.5 million, make some long term improvements to Junior Lake Memorial Park, and install a permanent access road to town specifications. The entire consideration for the “temporary” use of that parkland property is valued at $2.1 million. If Spectra sought eminent domain for Blue Mountain, the same valuation and environmental mitigation standards would apply. Eminent domain only authorizes taking of property when there is “just compensation.” Some may argue that this is difficult, but it is required by law.
We urge the County Executive to uphold his obligations to residents and properly protect Blue Mountain. We also urge him to work openly with the Board of Legislators to protect parkland held in the public trust; it must not be “given away” to Spectra.
Specifically, the County must comply with New York Law and insist on:
• compliance with the State Environmental Quality Act;
• comprehensive restoration of all construction and work areas with native plants;
• specific time limits for disruption of park activities;
• no loss of wetlands or other ecologically sensitive areas;
• an independent on-site expert for monitoring conditions at all times during construction;
• repair or payments for all damages associated with work on the pipeline
• specific provisions for properly maintaining the affected areas after completion and establishment of a Blue Mountain stewardship fund;
• financial compensation no less than comparable amounts received (acre for acre) for the Yorktown parkland to be held in trust for exclusively for environmental and park purposes
Our County officials must not “give away” important parts of Blue Mountain Reservation. Old agreements with the pipeline already require further payment and restoration – expansion of the use of these lands demands even more. Blue Mountain must be treated as the valuable asset that it is to our community, and not “sold out” for natural gas in some other community.
The writer, a Peekskill resident, is president of Safe Energy Rights Group, Inc., which helps communities take action against pipeline development, and advocates for sustainable energy projects in the Northeast.
SEnRG President Nancy Vann and Vice President Courtney Williams Joined Rally at Senator Schumer’s Office
Delivered Petition with Nearly 25,000 Signatures!
Alice the SEnRG Cat Wants Us to Protect Her Environment!
SEnRG President Nancy Vann tours Blue Mountain Reservation with Westchester County Legislators