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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.Orghttps://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2020/05/new-yorker-power-defeated-william-pipeline.-bu-erik-mcgregor.-e1589821994336.png200px200px

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 350.org 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
deception.”

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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News Sputnik

Photos: Wreckage of World War II US Battleship Found Near Pearl Harbor

The wreck of the World War II battleship USS Nevada has been discovered off the coast of Hawaii more than 15,000 feet down in the Pacific Ocean by underwater archaeological specialist company SEARCH Inc. and marine robotics firm Ocean Infinity.

In a statement Monday, the two private firms said they discovered the battleship wreck about 65 nautical miles southwest of Pearl Harbor. Photos of the wreck show that parts of the ship, including the anti-aircraft gun, hull and hatch for a 5-inch gun room, remain intact.

​The search for the Nevada was completed using an Ocean Infinity research vessel, the Pacific Constructor. Ocean Infinity also used autonomous underwater vehicles, which can explore depths greater than 19,600 feet, to discover the wreckage.

“Nevada is an iconic ship that speaks to American resilience and stubbornness,” James Delgado, SEARCH’s senior vice president, said. “Rising from its watery grave after being sunk at Pearl Harbor, it survived torpedoes, bombs, shells and two atomic blasts. The physical reality of the ship, resting in the darkness of the great museum of the sea, reminds us not only of past events, but of those who took up the challenge of defending the United States in two global wars.”

​The USS Nevada was built in Quincy, Massachusetts, and was first commissioned in March 1916 and operated in the British Isles during World War I, after which it operated in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean. Decades later, it was the only battleship to “get underway during the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor Raid,” according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

“Left in a sinking condition after receiving one torpedo and several bomb hits, she had to be beached. Vigorous salvage work and temporary repairs enabled her to steam to the US west coast in April 1942. She spent the rest of the year receiving permanent repairs and improvements, including a greatly enhanced anti-aircraft gun battery,” the Naval History and Heritage Command explains. The ship would go on to participate in World War II battles in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The Nevada was later used as a target ship for atomic bomb tests in July 1946 in the Marshall Islands. The vessel finally sank on July 31, 1948, following days of target practice by the US Navy off the Hawaiian Islands culminating in an aerial torpedo strike.



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Defence News

U.S. Navy fast-attack submarine departs Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for sea trials – Defence Blog

The U.S. Pacific Fleet has reported that Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) departs Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard after completing a scheduled extended dry-docking selected restricted availability (EDSRA).

According to a recent service news release, during the maintenance period, the shipyard and crew performed tank blasting and coating, hull preservation, propulsion and ship system repairs, and made enhancements to mechanical and electrical systems.

Following sea trials, the crew will work together to maintain readiness prior to completing their certification for overseas deployment to support theater and national tasking.

Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core-capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. The submarines are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare, and mine warfare. The vessels are capable of a variety of missions, from open ocean warfare to projecting power ashore with special operation forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or response to regional crises.

Commissioned on July 31, 2010, Missouri is the seventh Virginia-class submarine and the fifth U.S. Navy ship to be named for the state of Missouri. It is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet. Virginia-class, fast-attack submarines have a crew of approximately 132, made up of 15 officers and 117 enlisted Sailors.

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News Sputnik

Trump: Coronavirus Crisis is Worse Than Pearl Harbor or 9/11

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The US president said by next week, he’s going to announce new members of his coronavirus task force whose focus now shifts to medical treatments and to relaxing the restrictions imposed on business and social life amid the ongoing pandemic.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, US President Donald Trump argued the COVID-19 global pandemic impact on the United States eclipses certain other infamous events in the country’s history, such as 9/11 and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military in 1941.

“This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center. And it should have never happened,” Trump said.

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