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Grassroots Activists Defeat Controversial Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline In New York Harbor

Grassroots Activists Defeat Controversial Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline In New York Harbor

Grassroots Activists Defeat Controversial Williams Fracked Gas Pipeline In New York Harbor2020-05-18PopularResistance.Org

The decision ends the three-year fight, barring litigation; New Yorkers celebrate decision as essential for protecting public health and the planet during the crisis

New York, NY – The New York Department of Environmental Conservation today denied a needed water quality permit for the controversial Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline, effectively putting an end to the epic fight against the widely opposed project. The pipeline was slated to carry fracked gas from Pennsylvania through New York Harbor and out to the Rockaways.

Activists unfurl a 25-foot banner in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York office. Photo credit: Maria Ziesche

J.K. Canepa, of Sane Energy Project, said, “Governor Cuomo and the DEC showed they heard the people of New York today by ending the three-year bid by Williams Companies to trench an expensive, polluting, and unnecessary fracked gas pipeline into New York Harbor. That project would have caused untold harm to our waterfront communities and burgeoning marine life, locked us into 40 more years of fracked gas, and burdened ratepayers with a $1 billion price tag at a time when unemployment has hit a historic high not seen since the Great Depression. Even while grappling with the unprecedented crisis of being at the center of a worldwide pandemic, New Yorkers spoke loudly and clearly that they don’t want an even more terrifying future: rising seas and non-stop climate emergencies such as the release of other new viruses. The Governor’s next steps must be to deny all fossil fuel infrastructure and move us to 100 percent renewable energy, with jobs that put our workers in the forefront of these new technologies. ”

Governor Cuomo and the DEC have shown strength in stopping the Williams Pipeline and refusing to let one major crisis distract from another. The decision proves that Albany gets the bigger picture that connects the public with planetary wellbeing and will not be swayed by corporate propaganda that puts profits above the best interests of the people. But let’s be clear: this victory is mainly because of grassroots activism and the unflagging determination of New Yorkers; Cuomo still needs to do much more. If he really wants to be a leader during a crisis while reaching the goals of his own climate law, he’ll stop with the austerity politics and seize on this opportunity to institute a green recovery, which must include banning all new fossil fuel infrastructure across the state for good.

Sara Gronim, of 350Brooklyn, said “350Brooklyn salutes Governor Cuomo on his decision to deny the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement project a Water Quality Certificate for the third and final time. 350Brooklyn also thanks to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation whose scientific expertise and seriousness of purpose determined that this project would have had major negative effects on the waters off New York City. Their work enabled Governor Cuomo to make a decision that was in the best interest of New Yorkers. We thank Governor Cuomo wholeheartedly for the real leadership he showed in making this decision.”

Noelle Picone, of the SurfriderFoundation, NYC also expressed support for Cuomo’s decision, saying “ChapterSurfrider Foundation applauds Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on the decision to once again deny the water quality permit needed to build the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline. In doing so, Governor Cuomo has proven that he is the climate leader that New York State—and the rest of the country—desperately needs. In addition to exacerbating climate change, the construction of this pipeline would have had a catastrophic impact on the water quality of the New York Harbor. The denial of this project protects the Harbor, the vast array of marine wildlife that inhabits it, the people who swim, surf, and fish in it, and the coastal communities that live on it.”

Coalition members block Manhattan’s 3rd Avenue, demanding that Governor Cuomo ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure. By Erik McGregor

The victory over the pipeline is a momentous one for New Yorkers and demonstrates the unequivocal power of grassroots climate activism in the state, which outmuscled every corporate effort to convince the public that the project was in its interests. Those efforts were considerable and largely unethical and included an illegal gas moratorium, efforts to link the pipeline to the fate of a $1.4 billion development project, National Grid’s unethical lobbying of its own ratepayers, the manipulation of NYCHA residents, a dubious report asserting the climate benefits of the pipeline, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on ads, and, most recently, two 100-page reports doubling down on the utility’s claims that more fracked gas infrastructure was needed because of a gas shortage.

Dominique Thomas, New York, and Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizer for said “The future is in community-based solutions, renewables, and efficiency programs. There’s no need to build out more fracked gas infrastructure in New York City, state or nation. Period.”

Yet the opposition proved too strong, growing until the very end. In a span of just two weeks after Williams submitted its most recent application, New Yorkers sent in over 25,000 comments to the DEC—nearly double what they sent in 2018. They also submitted over 6,000 comments to the PSC and a combined 48,000 petition signatures to Governor Cuomo asking him to stop the project. This is on top of countless other actions that included picketing, canvassing, marches, a banner drop, civil disobedience, street theater, community info sessions, lobbying, and more.

Stop the Williams NY Pipeline coalition delivers 14,496 petitions to Gov. Cuomo, February 7, 2019
Photo credit: Erik McGregor

The COVID-19 crisis didn’t slow the momentum: after distancing requirements forced National Grid in April to move its public info sessions online, over 800 unique individuals—overwhelmingly anti-pipeline—still attended. Activists were emboldened by three separate reports (from IEEFA, Energy Futures Group, and
Synergy Energy Economics), along with an earlier study, that found National Grid to be severely inflating its gas demand projections while underplaying the potentials of renewable energy and demand-side solutions. Experts agreed: New York has heat pumps and induction stoves, not fracked gas, in its future.

Scores of local elected officials—including Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Assemblyman Robert Carroll, State Senator Julia Salazar, Assemblyman William Colton, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams—have opposed the pipeline. In April 2019, the New York City Council passed a near-unanimous resolution condemning the project. On the federal level, Senator Bernie Sanders and 11 U.S. representatives—including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hakeem Jeffries, Jerry Nadler, and Nydia Velázquez—have spoken out against it as well.

Now that the Williams project has been blocked, New Yorkers are calling on Cuomo to make the most of the dire situation represented by COVID-19 and begin instituting a truly green recovery, one that doubles down on his commitments to renewable energy, creates thousands of high-quality jobs in the renewable economy, and bans all new fossil fuel infrastructure for good.

Activists rally before delivering a letter opposing the pipeline, signed by over 200 organizations, to Governor Cuomo. Photo: Erik McGregor

Laura Shindell, New York Organizer with Food & Water Watch put the decision in context saying, “While President Trump hustles to bail out oil and gas companies, New York has taken another step towards moving off fossil fuels. Stopping this fracked gas project was a necessary step towards achieving the ambitious climate goals established by New York last year, and we applaud Governor Cuomo for standing strong against National Grid’s campaign of lies and

Yvonne Walker, Sandy Survivor, New York Communities for Change, concluded “The Williams Pipeline would have been a massive step backward that we just can’t afford. The climate clock is ticking. In 2012, I lost everything to Hurricane Sandy: my clothes, my medications, my furniture, my apartment and I spent weeks living in a church shelter. It makes me feel heard and gives me some closure to see that Governor Cuomo made the right decision and denied the Williams Pipeline yet again.”

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Walt Harris vows to bounce back from defeat after emotional UFC Florida main event (VIDEO) — RT Sport News

Alistair Overeem became the second fighter on the UFC roster to claim victories in FOUR different decades when he stopped Walt Harris in the second round of an emotional UFC Florida headliner on Saturday night.

Veteran Dutch striker Overeem claimed the 46th win of a career which has now included victories in the 1990’s, 2000’s, 2010’s and 2020’s as he defeated Harris, who was fighting for the first time since the abduction and murder of his stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard last year.

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As such, the fight was tinged with a weighty emotion which was emphasized by the UFC using the narrative of Blanchard’s murder to paint the picture of the headline fight – and soon after the first bell sounded it seemed as though Harris was going to steamroll his way to an emotional win. 

Early in the fight, Harris – who was unbeaten in four fights going into the event – connected with a swarming series of shots on Overeem that sent the Dutchman flying.

Harris followed with a series of shots on the ground but Overeem, ducking and dodging on the ground, kept his composure and fought back to his feet – only to be hurt by more heavy shots from the American.

However, the tide turned in the second round. Overeem took advantage of an unbalanced Harris to end up in top position on the ground and pounded the defenseless Harris with a sequence of shots that prompted the referee to step in and stop the fight.

I’m sorry I didn’t get the W for you tonight,” an emotional Harris told his team during his post-fight interview.

You’ve been like my family through everything, and I’m so grateful. … Y’all at home watching, I’m sorry. I’ll be back better, I promise you. You haven’t seen the last of ‘The Big Ticket.’ I’m going to go home, recover. I’m going to heal emotionally and physically, and I promise you I’ll be better.”

UFC president Dana White echoed Harris’s sentiments, saying that it took a huge amount of courage to compete so soon after an horrific family tragedy.

Win, lose or draw, being here is a win for him,” White said.

He got through tonight and who knows what was going through that guy’s body, head, the whole deal.

“He’ll get better from this, in every way you can be better — from fighting to the other things that are going on with him.”

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US kills Telegram cryptocurrency to maintain dollar dominance as Durov concedes defeat in ‘battle of generation’ — RT World News

Telegram has been forced to abandon its cryptocurrency initiative, with its founder Pavel Durov blasting the US for seeking to crush any attempt at decentralization in order to maintain its global financial dominance.

Telegram founder and St. Petersburg native Pavel Durov announced the move in a post to his own Telegram channel on Tuesday, stating the crypto project – the Telegram Open Network (TON) and its currency, known as “Grams” – would have to be shut down.

“Unfortunately, a US court stopped TON from happening,” Durov said, adding that the court ruled “people should not be allowed to buy or sell Grams like they can buy or sell Bitcoins.”

Perhaps even more paradoxically, the US court declared that Grams couldn’t be distributed not only in the United States, but globally. Why? Because, it said, a US citizen might find some way of accessing the TON platform after it launched.

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As the project got off the ground last year and Telegram raised $1.7 billion through sales of the future crypto, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued the company in federal court, arguing it committed “ongoing illegal offering of digital-asset securities.” The agency also obtained an emergency restraining order barring Telegram from continuing to sell the currency, creating major legal obstacles for the initiative which culminated in the recent ruling.

“Today, we are in a vicious circle: you can’t bring more balance to an overly centralized world exactly because it’s so centralized. We did try though,” Durov said, adding that Washington controls the “global financial system” and can coerce ubiquitous tech giants like Google and Apple to serve its agenda.

The US can use its control over the dollar and the global financial system to shut down any bank or bank account in the world… So yes, it is true that other countries do not have full sovereignty over what to allow on their territory.

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According to the tech entrepreneur, TON was designed to “share the principles of decentralization pioneered by Bitcoin and Ethereum,” but would have superior speed and scalability when integrated with Telegram, allowing for “for an open, free, decentralized exchange of value and ideas.” The project now ceases to exist, with Durov “wishing luck to all those striving for decentralization, balance and equality in the world.”

We hope that you succeed where we have failed.

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Dominick Cruz makes extraordinary claim after UFC 249 defeat (VIDEO) — RT Sport News

Dominick Cruz is not a happy man following his controversial second-round stoppage loss to Henry Cejudo during Saturday’s UFC 249, claiming afterwards that referee Keith Peterson smelled of “alcohol and cigarettes.”

Former bantamweight champion Cruz came up short in his quest to reclaim UFC gold after a 1,227-day absence from the cage in Jacksonville late Saturday night, as the injury-plagued fighter was finished by strikes seconds before the bell. 

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The finish came as Cejudo landed a knee to a ducking Cruz, sending the fighter sprawling against the cage. ‘Triple C’ immediately followed up with strikes before referee Keith Peterson called a halt to the fight.

The UFC commentary team, including Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, initially protested the stoppage when replays showed that Cruz – while dazed – was attempting to get back to his feet when Peterson opted to end the contest. 

Cruz cut a forlorn figure after the defeat, quickly leaving the octagon before he could be interviewed by Rogan – but speaking after the fight, Cruz complained about Peterson’s handling of the fight and even suggested that the referee had been drinking alcohol beforehand.

I mean, totally cognizant is hard to say – you’re rocked, sometimes you get hit,” Cruz said to Megan Olivi. “I’ve been in those positions many, many times, though, and I had seconds left in the round.

And I just think sometimes I wish that there was a way to keep these refs a little more responsible. The guy smelled like alcohol and cigarettes, so who knows what he was doing.”

Apparently taken aback by Cruz’s statement, Olivi pressed him on the cigarettes and alcohol allegation only for Cruz to double down.

Definitely,” Cruz said. “I wish they drug tested them. I know Herb Dean is good – he’s one of the best refs. I immediately when I saw that ref, I was like, ‘Is there a way to veto that ref and get a new one?’ I wonder that as fighters, do we have that choice? I’m not sure, I wish we did.

I’m not happy with the stoppage, obviously,” he continued. “Because I specifically asked the ref to wait unless I was knocked out. I was standing up … and I was definitely still aware. Now, I get that there were unanswered shots, but if I’m standing up to my feet on my way up, the ref should give me [more time].

Hats off to Henry. I shouldn’t have got caught with that knee, but at the same time … I was on my way up. [If I was knocked out] how do I get my balance? This is for a world title. This isn’t some sort of backyard fight.”

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Russia’s mightiest military aircraft buzz over Moscow to mark 75th anniversary of Nazi defeat (PHOTO, VIDEO) — RT Russia News

Defying clouds in the sky and Covid-19 on the ground, Russia’s deadliest bombers, nimblest fighter jets and strongest transport aircraft flew over the capital in celebration of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany 75 years ago.

V-Day is one of the most important national holidays in Russia, and this year was supposed to have seen massive celebrations throughout the country. But Covid-19 and its lockdowns threw a wrench into the plans, forcing the postponement of most festivities. 

While only a handful of ceremonial troops marched across Moscow’s center this year for a wreath-laying ceremony, the air over the Russian capital was teeming with military aircraft, which were deployed in record numbers for the occasion. A total of 75 helicopters and planes – one for each year since that legendary day – flew under the cloudy sky.

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The flyover started with a Mi-26 – the world champion in size and power among mass-produced heavy-transport helicopters. It was accompanied by a quartet of Mi-8s – the workhorse of transport aviation in Russia and many other nations.

Rotorcraft with more teeth followed closely. Сombat choppers, including Mi-35M armed transport, Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ and Mi-28N ‘Night Hunter’ helicopter gunships were on display.

Next came the turn of some of the biggest planes operated by the Russian military. An A-50 ‘flying radar’ was chased by Il-76 airlifters – the go-to solution if you need some heavy hardware moved fast.

Russian nuclear deterrence was showcased by all three types of strategic bombers currently in service: the slower turboprop-powered Tu-95MS ‘Bear’, the Tu-22M3 variable-sweep-wing supersonic jets and their heavier cousins, the Tu-160 ‘White Swan’ bomber.

Fighter jets swooped in, with echelons of MiG-29s, Su-24s and MiG-31Ks flying one after another. The final quartet in this part of the show was formed by Su-57s, Russia’s most advanced 5th-generation aircraft currently finding its way into the ranks.

The finale of the air parade showcased the skills of Russian ace pilots flying in tight formation. Some 10 air-superiority fighter jets representing three modern variants of the Su-27 family formed a wedge.

Close on their tail was the signature diamond formation performed by the two top Russian aerobatic teams, the Swifts and the Russian Knights, piloting MiG-29s and Su-30SM respectively.

The show wrapped up with the Su-25, the veteran ground-attack aircraft. Six of them were deployed to paint the colors of the Russian flag in smoke.

Smaller-scale flyovers took place on Saturday in other Russian cities as well as in countries hosting Russian air forces.

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