environment Tag All blog entries tagged as environment http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Wed, 09 Jul 2014 03:17:41 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Groups Call For More Public Input On Proposed Deepwater Gas Port Off NY Coast http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/07/01/groups-call-for-more-public-input-on-proposed-deepwater-gas-port-off-ny-coast http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/07/01/groups-call-for-more-public-input-on-proposed-deepwater-gas-port-off-ny-coast NEW YORK — Over 100 environmental groups from New York, New Jersey and other states are seeking to extend the public comment period for a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas port off the New York coast.

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The port “could pose a major security threat to a densely populated area, risks burdening the region’s ecosystems with air and water pollution, and will tend to discourage investment in renewable energy supplies,” the groups said in a letter sent to federal authorities today.

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In their letter to the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, the coalition, led by Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy and Clean Ocean Action, charged that the time allotted — 30 days — for public comment on the project’s scoping documents was insufficient.

“It is manifestly unfair to expect either the general public or concerned individuals with scientific and technical expertise to submit thoughtful and comprehensive scoping comments on an application of over fifteen hundred pages by July 24,” the groups stated.

The coalition has also requested that more public scoping hearings be scheduled, in addition to those currently planned for July 9, in Long Beach, N.Y., and July 10, in Edison, N.J.

Liberty Natural Gas, the project’s developer, argues that the port “will have a significant downward impact on natural gas prices in the [downstate New York] area, as well as on the price of gas-fired electricity.”

In a statement responding to today’s letter, Liberty CEO Roger Whelan noted that, “These [scoping] meetings are the first step in the comprehensive federal and state review process that will take place over the next year.” He added that the port project “will provide 600 good paying jobs [and] invest over $90 million into the local economy."

The federal Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard are responsible for reviewing the project.

In its notice of intent published in the Federal Register on June 24, the Maritime Administration noted that after the public scoping session for the port closes, it will prepare a draft “environmental impact statement” that the public will have the opportunity to comment on.

Natural gas from the facility, known as Port Ambrose, will be able to reach New York City consumers directly via the proposed Rockaway pipeline.

Port Ambrose’s buoy system and pipeline infrastructure — lying in 100-foot ocean waters — would be located 17 miles southeast of Jones Beach and 27 miles away from the entrance to New York Harbor.

Port Ambrose would be situated within an area now under review for a major off-shore wind farm. It would also be located along the New York Bight, the coastal indentation made famous by Hurricane Sandy because of its powerful contribution to storm surges.

The port site is also 24 nautical miles east of Long Branch, N.J.

A spokesman for Liberty, which describes itself as “a portfolio company of a fund advised by West Face Capital, a Toronto, Canada based investment management firm,” said that the port was designed to receive incoming liquefied natural gas from Trinidad and Tobago and other foreign locations.

Some environmental groups have challenged this representation of the project, saying that the proposed port could just as easily be re-engineered to ship natural gas out of the U.S. for export. They argue that Port Ambrose would stimulate demand for natural gas extracted from shale sources in the Northeast, leading to heightened pressure on underground water sources.

“Any permit issued for a deepwater LNG port is for import and export,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, one of the groups that signed the letter. “There is no public interest in allowing a LNG to be established in our region … It would begin the demise of our clean ocean economies … [It is] the fossil fuel industrialization of the ocean.”

According to Liberty, after incoming frozen gas is warmed and “re-gasified,” it will be transferred from Port Ambrose into a new 22-mile subsea pipeline system feeding directly into the Transco Lower New York Bay Lateral pipeline. The Transco Lateral pipeline runs parallel to the Rockaway coast.

The Transco pipeline will, in turn, connect with the proposed Rockaway pipeline, which is to travel along the ocean floor, eventually running underneath Jacob Riis Park and Jamaica Bay, into Brooklyn and Queens. Both the Transco and Rockaway pipelines are managed by Oklahoma-based Williams Companies.

The section of the Rockaway pipeline underneath Jamaica Bay is managed by National Grid and is already under construction. The ocean-floor section of the pipeline, along with a gas and metering station to be constructed at Floyd Bennett Field, are undergoing a lengthy federal environmental review process.

The Port Ambrose project represents a new attempt by Liberty to build a liquefied natural gas facility along the East Coast. An earlier project, to have been constructed sixteen miles off the coast of Asbury Park, N.J., was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2011.

After his veto, Governor Christie was quoted as saying, “I take very seriously our obligation to protect the environmental health of our coastal waters … Offshore LNG poses unacceptable risks to the state's residents, natural resources, economy and security. We must ensure that our 126 miles of shoreline remain an economic driver for tourism and that our fishing and shellfish industries remain healthy and productive now and for future generations.”

Liberty says that concerns raised by the state of New Jersey have led to a more environmentally sensitive facility proposed for New York. In a statement on its website, the company maintained that the project’s size had been reduced by 50 percent and that the port had been designed to “avoid any onshore impacts, including impacts to wetlands … and avoid any sensitive fishery areas and any near-shore areas that could affect tourism or other uses.”

Port Ambrose could impact a major renewable energy project to be located thirteen miles off the Rockaway Peninsula. The port lies within the “proposed area of interest” for the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative project.

Described as having the potential to be the largest off-shore wind project in the United States, the wind project is a public-private collaboration between the New York and Long Island Power Authorities, Con Edison, the City and State of New York, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The Maritime Administration noted in its request for comments that the wind energy project “will be acknowledged and considered in the processing of the Port Ambrose application and National Environmental Policy Act analysis.”

sarahcrean@yahoo.com (Sarah Crean) City Mon, 01 Jul 2013 18:38:20 +0000
Introducing AdaptNY: Join The Conversation On Climate Change Adaptation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/11/introducing-adaptny-join-the-conversation-on-climate-change-adaptation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/11/introducing-adaptny-join-the-conversation-on-climate-change-adaptation As Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveils his administration's vision for making New York City more resilient to climate change, Gotham Gazette is working to help democratize the public debate on the issues.

Gotham Gazette is partnering with veteran journalists and technology pioneers to bring you AdaptNY, which aims to "curate, document and foster conversation about how New York will adapt to the coming challenges of climate change."

The project is led by veteran journalist A. Adam Glenn, of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

The project will be edited and curated by Glenn, and Gotham Gazette will be providing content and editorial guidance. We'll also be promoting AdaptNY's efforts on Facebook and Twitter, and encourage readers to visit the project site.

We are also proud to be partnering with DocumentCloud to develop an online tool for stimulating public policy discussion around key reports on climate change.

That tool will be made available to the general public in a few weeks.

Questions about the project can be sent to editor@adaptny.org

webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 11 Jun 2013 18:20:49 +0000
Today's Lead: New Climate Predictions For NYC http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/06/11/todays-lead-new-climate-predictions-for-nyc http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/06/11/todays-lead-new-climate-predictions-for-nyc

Increased flooding, more rain and storms, and higher temperatures are all predicted in a new report by the Bloomberg Administration. Over 800,000 residents are expected to live in flood plains by 2050, more than double the number currently estimated at risk. By that time, 90 degree days could become as regular as they are in Birmingham, Ala. Heat waves kill more people than storms. Sea levels are anticipated to rise four to eight inches by 2020. Bloomberg will give a speech today about how the city will begin preparing for this new climate.

Other Stories We're Following

Vote To Be Forced On NYPD Bills (Politicker)

Cuomo Bill Eyes Public-Financed Elections (Albany Times Union)

Federal Cuts Trim City Housing Vouchers By As Many As 8,000 (Daily News)

City Enduring Diabetes Crisis (NY Post)

Russian Flood Barrier A Model For New York City (Scientific American)

Community Colleges Produce Few Graduates (Albany Times Union)

City's Boom Spurs Need For Housing (Wall Street Journal)

White Powder Sent To FDNY Headquarters (Wall Street Journal)

Cuomo Bill Details Plans For Tax-Free Zones (Associated Press)

Silver In Crosshairs Of Senate Bill Term-Limiting Leadership Posts (Daily News)

Little-Known Guide Helps Police Navigate A Diverse City (NY Times)

mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) The Eye-Opener Tue, 11 Jun 2013 12:12:04 +0000
Mayor Touts Steps Taken Toward Making NYC Sustainable http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/07/mayor-touts-steps-taken-toward-making-nyc-sustainable http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/06/07/mayor-touts-steps-taken-toward-making-nyc-sustainable Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration created a nationally heralded blueprint five years ago to steer the city toward a more sustainable future.

The mayor now says the city is on track to meet all the goals set forth in that plan.

A new report shows that the city has made significant progress on 100 of the 132 initiatives outlined in the city’s PLaNYC blueprint for sustainability.

The initiatives touch on areas including transportation, parks and open space and housing.

The report highlights last month’s launch of Citi Bike, which is the largest bike share program in the nation; the addition of 300 acres of new parkland; and the rezoning of 119 neighborhoods to allow taller buildings for housing or office space and to create pedestrian plazas.

Read or download the 2013 progress report that was released earlier today.

lastephe207@gmail.com (Latima Stephens) City Fri, 07 Jun 2013 21:45:20 +0000
What Is The State of Ferry Service In NYC? [Updated] http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/28/what-is-the-state-of-ferry-service-in-nyc-updated http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/28/what-is-the-state-of-ferry-service-in-nyc-updated City lawmakers are holding a hearing today to discuss the state of ferry service in the five boroughs, with advocates and transportation experts expected to testify in support of expanding use of the waterways for transit.

The disruption to subways and buses by Superstorm Sandy brought renewed attention to the potential of the city's "blue highways." For instance, when the subway to the isolated Rockaway Peninsula was knocked out, emergency ferry service provided a critical connection for commuters needing to get to Manhattan.

Advocates say expanded ferry service would create redundancy to the transit network, connect far-flung communities that have no other reliable transit and be available during emergencies.

Gotham Gazette took an in-depth look at the issue back in April.

The joint hearing of the Council's transportation, waterfront and economic development committees begins at 1 p.m. today.

UPDATE: Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the Rockaway ferry service will be extended for an additional six weeks, with weekend service added beginning July 4. City Councilman Donovan Richards, whose district includes part of the peninsula, praised the mayor. “This ferry has provided some much needed relief for our residents during an extremely trying time," he said in a statement. "For many people on the peninsula, the Rockaway ferry will remain the preferred method of transportation to Manhattan."

webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 28 May 2013 15:58:45 +0000
Today's Report: Sewage Overflows Caused By Sandy http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/todays-report/2013/04/30/todays-report-sewage-overflows-caused-by-sandy http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/todays-report/2013/04/30/todays-report-sewage-overflows-caused-by-sandy Superstorm Sandy caused 11 billion gallons of partially or untreated sewage - the equivalent of Central Park stacked 41 feet high - to leak into rivers, lakes, and waterways, according to this report by Climate Central. New York City reported six sewage spills larger than 100,000,000 gallons, and 28 larger than 1 million gallons. New York authorities estimate it will cost nearly $2 billion to repair flood damaged sewage treatment facilities. Sewage overflow is common in the city, although not on this scale, and climate change will only make things worse, the group warns:

"Climate change is making sewage treatment plants more vulnerable to major failures and overflows due to rising seas, more intense coastal storms, and increasingly heavy precipitation events."

mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) Today's Report Tue, 30 Apr 2013 11:28:59 +0000
Sustainability After Bloomberg: Candidates Offer Hints of a Vision http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/23/sustainability-after-bloomberg-candidates-offer-hints-of-a-vision http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/04/23/sustainability-after-bloomberg-candidates-offer-hints-of-a-vision One of the most pressing questions about the end of Michael Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor is what will become of his groundbreaking efforts to make New York a more environmentally sustainable city.

In a forum organized last night by the New York League of Conservation Voters, nine mayoral hopefuls provided strands of information that — if nothing else — pointed at the depth and complexity of the challenges ahead.

Several candidates made the point that Bloomberg’s achievements were only the first steps in a lengthy process. Said Republican Joe Lhota: “Bloomberg set us on the path to sustainability. We need to take it to the next level.”

The candidates addressed questions on reducing the city’s carbon output, protecting New York from rising sea levels and future catastrophic storms, transitioning to more sustainable sources of energy, and guaranteeing access to parkland for all residents.

While a number of candidates referenced PlaNYC, the Bloomberg administration’s far-reaching sustainability plan, none said what would become of the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, created to “develop, implement and track” the progress of the plan.

However, there was general support for Bloomberg’s objective of an 80 percent reduction in New York City’s carbon emissions by 2050. “That’s where we need to be looking,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the Democratic forerunner.

Eight of the nine candidates — except for Republican John Catsimatidis — accepted the basic premise that climate change is a man-made phenomenon. While some of the candidates articulated more of an overall vision for a sustainable New York than others, they shared a core set of interests.

For instance, several candidates agreed that retrofitting the city’s building stock and lowering energy consumption is a key sustainability objective for several candidates, including Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Lhota. The need to expand sources of financing for retrofitting was raised by City Comptroller John Liu, who added: “The City could have moved more aggressively.”

All of the candidates agreed that the city needed to increase its use of sustainable sources of energy. But ,when asked, none were willing to definitively state — as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has — that the Indian Point nuclear power plant 47 miles to the north of the city in Westchester County should be closed. Licenses for Indian Point’s two operating reactors expire later this year and in 2015.

Sal Albanese said the city needed “bold leadership” on solar, wind and electric cars “so we can close Indian Point.”

Forum moderator and WNYC host Brian Lehrer brought up a new Stanford/Cornell study, which argues that by 2030, the state’s power demand for all sectors (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, industry) could be met using renewable sources.

Lehrer noted that the Stanford study specifically mentions developing off-shore wind farms.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson replied that wind farms were “worth trying … New York City probably is a perfect place.” Liu wondered if the city had “forgotten” about solar energy.

When asked whether New York City needed to develop a policy on natural gas and hydraulic fracturing, there was widespread agreement that drilling in the city’s upstate watershed should remain off-limits. Both Albanese and De Blasio expressed their general opposition to hydraulic fracturing in New York State.

But there was less clarity on whether the city should expand its use of natural gas and permit the construction of new pipelines as Bloomberg has advocated. Quinn said: “You can’t rush into something like the Spectra pipeline [which will cross through the West Village and transport gas extracted, at least partially, by hyrofracking] … But I would not take it off the table.”

Liu argued in response that the city simply had not invested enough in renewable energy.

How and where to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, and how to protect the city from future storms will be a major sustainability challenge for New York City’s next mayor.

Lhota maintained that structures in the Rockaways and Brooklyn could be built to withstand flooding, while neighborhoods sitting upon the coastal marshes of Staten Island should probably not be rebuilt.

Lhota asserted that the city had “failed” during Hurricane Sandy. “We have to find a way to protect lower Manhattan”, he said, adding that soft-infrastructure solutions, like oyster beds, could help to mitigate the impact of storm surges.

Thompson added: “We need a deputy mayor for infrastructure.”

The candidates also addressed the city’s ongoing waste challenges. All of the candidates supported Bloomberg’s target of recycling 30 percent of the city’s waste stream by 2017. Only 15 percent is currently recycled.

How waste will be transported — and through which neighborhoods — proved more contentious. A number of the candidates expressed reservations about re-opening the 91st Street waste transfer station in Manhattan. Quinn said she supported the idea.

Lehrer raised another environmental justice issue: New York City does not currently meet minimum federal air quality standards, and the resulting public health impact weighs disproportionately on communities of color.

Speaker Quinn responded that new forms of rapid transit, use of marine-based solid waste transfer, and the phasing out of heavy heating oils would help to address the problem.

Environmental justice also factors into public access to open, green spaces.

Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, who is running on the Independence Party line, noted that some communities are left behind as public-private partnerships to maintain city parks become more common.

“There should not be discrimination in the quality of parkland in the event that there is no wealthy partner,” he said.

Several candidates stressed that investments in energy efficiency, mass transit and other sustainability strategies would have another critical result for New York City residents. “They will create jobs,” said Thompson. He added, “Sustainability is part of every discussion.”

sarahcrean@yahoo.com (Sarah Crean) Elections Tue, 23 Apr 2013 19:42:13 +0000
Dissident Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Suspend Fracking http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/03/05/dissident-senate-democrats-introduce-bill-to-suspend-fracking http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/03/05/dissident-senate-democrats-introduce-bill-to-suspend-fracking A member of a dissident faction of Senate Democrats has introduced legislation that would put a a 24-month moratorium on the form of natural gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, pending the outcome of major health studies into the practice.

Sen. David Carlucci, who is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference representing Rockland and Westchester counties, announced Tuesday that he had introduced the bill.

“A quick buck is not worth the long-term debt that our children will have to live with if we get this decision wrong," Carlucci said in a statement. "Rushing to judgment without all of the facts is a recipe for a disaster, particularly involving a hydrofracking process that lacks transparency and accountability, and has appeared to pose significant harmful health effects towards populations surrounding the Marcellus Shale. I cannot in good conscience support any measure that does not first fully evaluate all related scientific data, and that is precisely what we are advocating for here today. Let’s get the facts at our disposal before we launch into unchartered territory.”

Sen. Jeff Klein had similar reservations: "As I've said before, I have serious concerns about the process. These studies will provide the Department of Health with a much clearer sense of whether or not hydrofracking can ever be conducted safely."

A release from Carlucci's office notes that three major studies into hydrofracking are ongoing: One on the impacts on drinking water resources by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; a Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania study on the health histories of hundreds of thousands of people who live near natural gas wells on the Marcellus Shale that covers parts of New York as well as Pennsylvania; and a study of health impacts led by academic researchers.

The bill comes shortly after The Associated Press reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was convinced to hold off on allowing fracking in New York State after conversations with Robert Kennedy Jr., who said he believes Cuomo is waiting for for the outcome of the $1 million Geisinger study.

dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 05 Mar 2013 18:02:57 +0000
City Council To Fight Extreme Weather With Legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/18/city-council-to-fight-extreme-weather-with-legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/18/city-council-to-fight-extreme-weather-with-legislation

Legislation aimed at fortifying the city's infrastructure to withstand future extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy has been introduced into the City Council.

"Before we see another Hurricane Sandy hit our five boroughs, we must ensure our shoreline, our streets, our transportation system, our electrical system — every part of our city's foundation and groundwork is fully prepared," said Council Speaker Christine Quinn before the legislation was introduced. "If we want to protect our neighborhoods and prevent and limit future devastation, we have to act now."

They mayor's office said it was reviewing the bills.

The Council also announced a series of oversight hearings to look at the city's response to Sandy, scheduled to begin in January.

When asked whether the Council would look at the question of whether some rebuilding along the shoreline should be reconsidered, Quinn said it was a debate worth having.

"You don't want to ever say you can't rebuild, you can't go back, but it is clearly a tough discussion we are going to have to have," she said. 'There are some real legitimate environmental, weather, safety issues here. And we have to have the conversation because New Yorkers are asking us to have it."

Here is a rundown of the package of bills announced today and introduced at the stated meeting:

• A bill to require the mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to examine whether it would be possible to relocate power lines underground. The study would have to be conducted within six months of the bill being enacted.

• A bill to require that the city adopt updated flood maps created by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Current maps are outdated.

• A bill that would require buildings in floods zones to construct electrical and other key equipment "so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding."

• A bill that would amend building code to require healthcare facilities meet national and state flood construction requirements.

The Council also said it would vote on a measure that would waive Department of Buildings fees for buildings damaged or destroyed by Sandy.

"This bill will do away with one step and one cost in the rebuilding process," Quinn said. "This may seem like a little step, but these fees … can really add up and become an enormous cost for New Yorkers."


Image by Bill Alatriste, courtesy of the City Council.

webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 18 Dec 2012 22:12:10 +0000
Today's Lead Story: Bloomberg's Post-Storm Plan http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/07/todays-lead-story-bloombergs-post-storm-plan http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/07/todays-lead-story-bloombergs-post-storm-plan

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that the city would rethink evacuation zones, electrical infrastructure, telecommunications networks, hospitals and transportations systems after Superstorm Sandy caused billions of dollars in damage, paralyzed communities and killed dozens of people.

But Bloomberg said that his administration would not abandon the waterfront and dismissed the possibility of building sea walls to hold back the ocean. Instead, he said the city would look at "coastline protections" such as berms, dunes, jetties and levies.

"No matter how much we do to make homes and businesses more resilient, the fact of the matter is we live next to the ocean, and the ocean comes with risks that we just cannot eliminate," the mayor said.

Bloomberg outlined the post-Sandy plan, his first major address since the storm, at a Lower Manhattan event, where former Vice President Al Gore also made an appearance and praised the mayor's previous efforts to respond to the effects of climate change.

In the Press...

State Senate Power-Sharing Agreement Criticized For Lack of Diversity (NY Times)

New York Civil Liberties Union Files Lawsuit Challenging Solitary Confinement (Albany Times Union)

NY's Transportation Infrastructure Suffered $7.5B In Damage Because Of Storm: Senator (Associated Press)

UFT president to help all 4 seeking Democratic mayoral nomination (Gotham Schools)

Small Historical Society Tries To Recover From Sandy (MetroFocus)

NY Comptroller Warns Fiscal Cliff Could Cost NY $43B (Crain's)


Image courtesy of the mayor's office.

webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Fri, 07 Dec 2012 03:16:32 +0000
Today's Lead: Building for New Era of Storms http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/03/todays-lead-building-for-new-era-of-storms- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/03/todays-lead-building-for-new-era-of-storms-

As politicians begin taking more seriously the possible construction of a sea barrier, Gov. Cuomo will travel to Washington today seeking over $40 billion in aid -- a large chunk of which will go towards protection from future storms. The Washington Post backed up similar thinking, calling big spending on preparation well worth it. But of course, planning will be difficult, and it's much more complicated than just walling of the city from nature. Future development should come into consideration; like new plans for Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. Some say the park's role as natural buffer against flooding would be compromised by the proposed stadiums and malls. And then there's the gas pipeline planned for construction under The Rockaways. Environmentalists say flooding in the area threatens its stability.

mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Mon, 03 Dec 2012 12:55:24 +0000
Cuomo Says NY Must Learn to Adapt to Extreme Weather http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/30/cuomo-says-ny-must-learn-to-adapt-to-extreme-weather http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/30/cuomo-says-ny-must-learn-to-adapt-to-extreme-weather

After witnessing historic flooding and coastal surges caused by superstorm Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it is time for New Yorkers to examine how to adapt to more destructive weather events associated with climate change.

“Going forward we are going to have to anticipate these types of extreme weather patterns,” Cuomo said at a news conference earlier today. “And we have to think about how we redesign the system so that this doesn’t happen again.”

And on Albany's Talk 1300 AM radio show, he said this: "The construction of the city did not anticipate these kinds of situations ... We are only a few feet above sea level. You now have a whole infrastructure under the city that fills. The subway system, the foundations of buildings."

But, as reporter Peter Moskowitz points out in his story for Gotham Gazette this week, there are few public policies creating incentives for public or private developers to invest money in adapting buildings for extreme weather events that could become more frequent with climate change.

Of course, it's unclear how much climate change can be blamed for Sandy or even Irene, or any particular extreme weather event — as The New York Times' Andrew Revkin says on his Dot Earth blog:

There remains far too much natural variability in the frequency and potency of rare and powerful storms — on time scales from decades to centuries – to go beyond pointing to this event being consistent with what’s projected on a human-heated planet.


Image of flooding on Eighth Street and Avenue C in Manhattan as Sandy's storm surge was near its peak. Photo courtesy That Hartford Guy, used under Creative Commons licence.

webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 30 Oct 2012 20:25:20 +0000
Headlines: More fracking delays; Gay marriage election vandals http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/01/headlines-more-fracking-delays-gay-marriage-election-vandals http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/01/headlines-more-fracking-delays-gay-marriage-election-vandals

The state announced on Friday it would restart the regulatory rule-making process over hydraulic fracturing, pushing back a decision about approval into next year. This comes after the move to study fracking's impact on public health. The industry is worried Gov. Cuomo may not approve the drilling after all.

In the Press...

An ugly message sent on marriage vote (Albany Times Union)

State Senate Democrats to get campaign cash lifeline from teachers union (Daily News)

In Southeast Queens, epicenter of housing bust, holding onto homes still elusive (WNYC)

Medicaid eyed for all ex-cons (NY Post)

Housing Authority seeks millions for 'desperately needed' repairs (Daily News)

Master keys for subway gates blasted as terrorist threat (NY Post)

Meningitis outbreak hits HIV-positive men in New York (ABC News)

Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s ties to a bishop seem frayed (NY Times)

Councilman Charles Barron considering run for public advocate (Politicker)

PATH fares going up on Monday (Associated Press)

Who is vying to replace Bloomberg in 2013? (Associated Press)

mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Mon, 01 Oct 2012 12:26:24 +0000
Environmental Advocates Hire ex-Senate Spokesman Proulx http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/20/environmental-advocates-hire-ex-senate-spokesman-proulx http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/20/environmental-advocates-hire-ex-senate-spokesman-proulx Environmental Advocates of New York have hired veteran spokesman Travis Proulx to be their new director of communications. Proulx served as a spokesman for the Senate Democrats through the good times and the bad. He even survived the fabled 2009 Senate Coup. He recently worked for the Cuomo administration.

“Travis is a great addition to our office. His years of experience in the capital, working in both the legislative and executive branches, as well as his knowledge of state government, political campaigns, and statewide media, are huge assets to our organization and the state’s broader environmental community,” said Rob Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates.

Proulx said, “Environmental Advocates has a well-deserved reputation for not only advancing environmental protections, but also advocating visionary policies that benefit all New Yorkers. I’m excited to join the team at such an important time for our state's environment, with big decisions looming on issues such as fracking.”

You can expect to hear Proulx talking about hydraulic fracturing along with a bevy of other environmental issues facing New York in the months and years to come.

dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Thu, 20 Sep 2012 17:11:17 +0000
Today's Report: Alternative fuel vehicles for state agencies http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/20/todays-report-alternative-fuel-vehicles-for-state-agencies- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/20/todays-report-alternative-fuel-vehicles-for-state-agencies- State agencies are in compliance with an executive order that vehicle purchases be alternative fuel vehicles, but guidelines about when to use which type of fuel are lax, according to this audit by the state comptroller.

Starting in 2005, 50 percent of all new light-duty vehicle purchases were required to be alternative fuel, increasing to 100 percent in 2010. Between January 1, 2006 and June 6, 2011, the authority purchased 731 light-duty vehicles, including 594 alternative fuel vehicles. The authority was not in compliance with the Order in 2006, but was compliant from 2007 through 2011. The authority has not developed any policy or given guidance to its employees on when to use alternative fuel E-85 in its vehicles. As a result, fuel selection is driven by employee choice rather than authority direction. For the three divisions tested, authority employees at locations with E-85 pumps used E-85 between 30 percent and 60 percent of the time.

mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Thu, 20 Sep 2012 12:35:14 +0000