The New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman plans hearings Jan. 9 on Trump’s efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan. Flanked by representatives from Sierra, Food and Water Watch, NYPIRG, EDF, and a dozen other big greens, Schneiderman will undoubtedly affirm New York's commitment to the Paris Accord. He’ll emphasize our state’s intent to protect its environment and to do its part to stem global warming.
No one has mentioned it, but the Clean Power Plan encourages gas infrastructure, providing incentives to switch from coal or oil to gas-fired power and heat systems. Some have concluded the CPP was written by the gas industry, and even the Energy Information Administration determined that CPP would benefit gas before it helped renewables.
Under Obama, the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] concluded that the methane leakage rate from well heads, pipelines, and compressors was negligible. Because fracked gas has a warming impact 86 times that of carbon dioxide over 20 years, there is one dirty secret that industry, and maybe government, is intent we don’t learn: Only at leakage below a couple of percent is fracked gas cleaner than coal. Recent studies show methane leaking at rates from 5 percent to 15 percent from well-head to delivery. Your guess is as good as mine as to why all the big greens want to stand with the AG and clamor for the CPP.
Next: How is New York doing on the environment? In Orange County, Millennium’s Valley Lateral Pipeline is being built even though a bald eagle pair is nesting along the right of way. Neither the feds nor the state will enforce the law protecting the eagles. New York State troopers are instead guarding the pipeline workers, in case any resident gets it into his head to defend our environment from this assault. The AG seems okay with this use of state police power. But doesn’t it seem more like something Mr. Trump would do?
The Valley Lateral pipeline will feed Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) power plant with fracked gas from PA. Ignoring all the corruption involved in this project, CPV was approved even though it will add 15 percent to state power sector emissions. Down in Dutchess County, Cricket Valley power plant is being built. It is even bigger than CPV, and will add a further 15 precent to state emissions. The plants were approved before Paris, before Cuomo’s decision to cut 40 percent from power sector emissions in the next 13 years, and before Trump took office. But there seems to be no thought of rescinding those permits.
New York Power Authority (NYPA) has proposed to power the Albany Plaza with a couple of fracked gas turbines to be housed in the ANSWERS plant. That old steam tunnel is part of the plan, too, so a minority community receives the pollution while the power is enjoyed half a mile away. NYPA – or maybe whoever is directing NYPA -- is adamant that an environmentally conscious state like New York doesn't need to power its Capitol with renewables, but should commit to another 40 years of fracked gas for the purpose.
I hope the hearings on the Clean Power Plan go well for the Attorney General. Attendees should have the good taste not to bring up the multiple gas-fired power plants approved not by Trump but by our own DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation]. They shouldn't mention the state police protecting the pipeline crews currently destroying an eagle’s habitat. Say nothing about the fracked-gas Albany microgrid. It would be best not to revive that tired adage about the pot calling the kettle black.