NEW YORK, June 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As July 4th approaches, New York State must declare itself independent of the harms caused by the use of fossil fuels, that's what a coalition of environmental organizations urged today. The groups, including the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), argued that the devastating consequences of a rapidly warming planet must be addressed. The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already exceed 400 ppm, considered dangerously high. In addition, methane -- a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2 in the near-term – levels are now growing faster in the atmosphere than at any other time in the past two decades. With the actions by the Trump Administration that undermine international and federal climate policies, it is up to the states to act.
New York can help lead the nation by blocking the development of all new fossil fuel infrastructure deals, which, if built, must be used for decades in order to pay for themselves. The groups argued there is no time to waste. Weaning the nation off of its fossil fuel addiction must start now and blocking new projects to expand the use of oil and gas is a key step.
Governor Cuomo has authority to deny the necessary permits to build such facilities, thus he can stop these expansions.
It is clear that oil and gas facilities not only pollute our air, but spills threaten water supplies as well. In a recent report, hundreds of oil and gas spills have not been cleaned up. Leaks, spills and accidents at oil and gas projects can pose additional health threats to local residents.
There was also support expressed for the investigation by New York Attorney General Schneiderman into the activities of ExxonMobil. The Attorney General is investigating whether ExxonMobil deliberately misled the public about the dangers of the burning of fossil fuels. Media reports have documented that the oil giant's researchers had identified the problem as early as the 1970s. Instead of warning the public, it is alleged that the company used its power to block necessary public health actions. Recently, over 100 New York-based scientists pledged their support for the investigation.
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