Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

environment

environment

  • informal recyclers just

    Canners redeeming their work (photo: Carlos Rivea for Sure We Can)


    In New York City, there are an estimated 8,000 informal canners, or people who collect, sort, and redeem deposit-based containers for a living. Earning a nickel per can or bottle, canners straddle a liminal space in society: though often visible pushing carts with bulging bags through the city, they work in the shadows because of fear of harassment, shame,

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  • peaker plants comm

    A peaker plant


    As the weather warms and we head into the summer, we again expect record-breaking temperatures. Thousands of New Yorkers worry about accessing air conditioning units and surviving a hot summer in cramped apartments, and many will struggle to balance higher electricity bills from air conditioning against costs of health care, food, and rent. But most people don’t worry about the increased electricity demand from widespread air conditioning use during hot days and heat waves.

    Most New Yorkers are unlikely to know about the polluting power plants

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  • access damage updates

    It's time to better prepare (photo: governor's office)


    New York has faced its share of disasters, and each one seemed impossible and unprecedented until it actually happened. 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, and now COVID-19 each took a dramatic toll on our social and physical infrastructure,  the state’s economy, and our very way of life. 

    We always recover, but we must break the cycle of rebuilding and plan for future risk instead. Any threats must be taken seriously as many communities are already overextended and strained. Hurricane

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  • american wind

    A New. York wind farm (photo: @nyserda)


    Prologue
    At the stroke of midnight, as April gave way to May, one hundred drones with diamond-brazed hacksaws descended on a remote section of the New York-New Jersey Bight. Methodically, diabolically, they set to their task: lopping off a thousand or more turbine blades whose spinning motion enabled the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. When the sun rose on May 1 it revealed a stark sight: 400 supertall towers stripped bare. Twelve hundred blades, three per tower, that for decades had

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  • ann state legal

    The current crisis reminds us of the past and warns us about the future (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Everyone on Long Island remembers how it felt during Hurricane Sandy. We were paralyzed, waiting for the storm to pass, fearing for our families, homes, and basic needs. When the skies finally cleared, and we saw the scale of the destruction, it was clear that no individual one of us was strong enough, connected enough, or resourced enough to recover alone. We needed each other, we needed our community, we needed to come

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  • plans signi expand

    Is the post-coronavirus future renewable? (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    There have been many hard-learned lessons from COVID-19, but by far the most tragic – paid for with the lives of tens of thousands of people – is that when it comes to dealing with a public health crisis, preparation and proactive planning is the only approach that can keep our worst nightmares from becoming a reality. While New York is still far from reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, many inside and outside of government have rightly begun to envision what a restart to our economy

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  • divest ny fos

    A protest to push for New York pension system divestment from fossil fuel stocks (photo: @350)


    The oil and gas industries are experiencing significant upheaval as the coronavirus pandemic decimates economies across the globe. The price of crude oil in the United States temporarily fell below $0 per barrel for the first time ever last month, prompting renewed energy among activists and elected officials in New York who want to rid the state pension fund of all investments in the fossil fuel industry.

    But the one person they must convince, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli,

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  • reynoso celebrate renovate

    City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    These months will go down as one of the most trying periods in our city’s history. We are consumed by the grief of lost loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors, while facing a level of economic uncertainty not seen in generations. In this moment of crisis, many of us feel compelled to put on blinders and focus solely on addressing the present situation, and there is no doubt that efforts to combat COVID-19 will require vast resources and attention from our best

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  • joint ind board

    The future is renewable, the author writes (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day—Wednesday, April 22, 2020—, the world is in crisis. An unbearable number of lives lost each day. Livelihoods disappearing or threatened. And the uncertainty of what might come next is disrupting communities. Our infrastructure is strained to the brink and our most marginalized communities are bearing a disproportionate brunt of the pain. I’m of course talking about the ongoing devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The tragedy is that these

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  • gov statewide research

    Key themes of the first Earth Day remain on the 50th (photo: governor's office)


    A half-century ago, the United States celebrated the first Earth Day. In New York City, Fifth Avenue connected Union Square Park and Central Park with tens of thousands of New Yorkers celebrating the environment and urging their government to take swift and decisive action to protect their air and water. Today, 50 years later, the world has been put on pause to combat a health crisis unseen in generations. But while we are unable to again take to the streets to mark

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  • mayor exec reliiance

    Coronavirus presents an additional challenge & opportunity (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Our atmosphere is getting a breath of fresh air, but it’s not because of the Paris Agreement or any political awakening to the climate crisis. It’s because of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Yet even as emissions fall and we put our highly-carbonized business-as-usual on pause (from fewer people and planes flying to less driving and overall

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  • built fresh park

    renewable energy and the future of New York power (photo: Mayor's Office)


    In a recent Gotham Gazette column, Richard Webster, legal director for Riverkeeper, writes that “New York Has Already Moved Beyond Indian Point Nuclear Power; Here’s Where We’re Headed.” While Riverkeeper, the Westchester-based environmental group that has spearheaded the decades-long push to close Indian Point, may have moved on, the rest of us will be dealing with

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  • cuomo indian point

    Gov. Cuomo outside Indian Point power plant (photo: Governor's Office)


    Richard Webster, attorney for Riverkeeper, a principal advocate for closure of Indian Point power plant, has written a deeply misleading response to an opinion piece in which Herschel Specter and I urged that

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  • cuomo tours mariobridge

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    Despite the last-minute denials in an op-ed column recently published in these pages, there’s actually good news regarding replacement energy for Indian Point’s 2,060 megawatts once it goes offline in April. The New York Independent System Operator — which coordinates the distribution of our electricity supply — ...

  • Gotham Gazette:

    Indian Point (photo: the governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo claims that New York is a leader in addressing the dangers of climate change. So far, the facts fail to support this.

    Since 2010, New York’s gas-fired and dual-use (gas & oil) electric capacity has increased over four times as fast as wind plus other sources of renewable power. Fossil fuels today produce eight times as much electricity as all our renewables, exclusive of hydropower. This movement towards greater fossil fuel use is about to get far worse if the carbon-free Indian Point nuclear plant is shut

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  • catskills aerialphoto

    The Catskills from above (photo: @CatskillCenter)


    Albany’s budget is tough this year, with an unprecedented $6.1 billion gap to close. New York State has adopted the nation’s most ambitious climate change agenda, which will cost $33 billion over five years, and Governor Cuomo proposes keeping the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) at a record $300 million.

    Environmental spending may seem like a luxury when budgets are tight, let alone unprecedented environmental spending. But doubling down on the state’s environmental agenda is the

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  • ferry yards

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Without the network of parents that I have met at my daughter’s school in the historic South Street Seaport, I might never have heard about a real estate developer’s purchase of a parking lot directly across the street that was once the site of the largest thermometer factory complex in the country.

    This parking lot is located at 250 Water Street and sits adjacent to the entrances of PS 343 Peck Slip and the Blue School, which is another school that serves pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade children.

    I

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  • sos address

    (photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his annual State of the Stateaddress from Albany. He opened by highlighting the challenges faced by Americans, and New Yorkers, over recent weeks and years, including earthquakes in Puerto Rico, escalating tensions with Iran, and the surge in hate crimes against Jewish New Yorkers.

    Cuomo gave highlights of New York

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  • joint industry board elect industry

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    For six months, National Grid has held New Yorkers’ gas hostage in an attempt to force through an environmentally-disastrous pipeline that those same New Yorkers fiercely oppose. Last week, Governor Cuomo finally pushed back against National Grid, in a letter threatening to revoke the company’s license to operate downstate. Considering that National Grid has stranded 1,100

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  • indian point gov600

    Indian Point (photo: the governor's office)


    New York’s recently-passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act has been described as the boldest climate legislation in the nation. It sets demanding milestones for reducing carbon emissions, starting with the 2030 goal that New York state should, by then, derive 70% of its electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind, and waterpower). By 2040, it should derive all of its electricity from “clean” sources, and it should be carbon-neutral in all its uses of energy by 2050. 

    These goals

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  • energy gov nrel gov 2

    (photo: Energy.gov/NREL.gov)


    The offshore wind energy revolution has arrived on American shores. In a relatively short period of time, East Coast states are breaking offshore wind records as they compete with each other over wind power. A recent report, though, by the Business Network for Offshore Wind finds that industry challenges will slow growth unless offshore wind states work together to find

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  • cm carlos m cm dan gardonick marine

     (photo: William Alatriste New York City Council)


    Billy Joel’s dystopian vision for New York City, laid out in the very upbeat but equally terrifying “Miami 2017,” is coming true. The lights have indeed gone out on Broadway. Perhaps the only difference is that Queens won’t stay. 

    This is New York City in 2019: a near 100-degree heat wave shut down power for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, who then trudged through flooded streets once the high temperatures gave way to torrential

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  • offshore wind gov

    (photo: offshore-wind-govMike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    New York Already has the Lowest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Per Capita of Any State in the Nation and is Moving Forward

    New York State has just enacted a plan to bring its planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to 15% of its 1990 levels by 2050 and provide enough “carbon-emission offsets“ like forestation and wetlands reclamation to bring total carbon-emissions to “net-zero“ by that same year. These goals put New York at the forefront of the United States in

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  • city council press

    Council Member Reynoso (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    It is heartening that the New York City Council recently voted unanimously to declare a state of climate crisis. 2019 has already brought a string of droughts, record-breaking heat waves, crop failures, and storms, and it is obvious that this is the challenge of our lifetimes.

    Having declared an emergency, now comes the time for swift additional action.

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  • gov cuomo brieifing indian point

    (photo: the governor's office)


    Maybe you’ve heard: the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline, proposed to carry fracked gas through New York Harbor yet temporarily stopped by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation due to water-quality concerns, is already back from the dead. Because the needed permit was denied by the DEC “without prejudice,” Williams was allowed to reapply, and—putting quickness above caution—it already has.

    About 99% of the new application is what you might expect: if we slow this and

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