Yesterday marked the final opportunity for public comment to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) regarding the proposed expansion of the Algonquin pipeline. Earlier this month I gathered with several other elected officials at the start of a public hearing on this issue. Video of all the statements are available at the SAPE website; I start speaking at 16:30. Here is what I said:
We have been told repeatedly that natural gas is an essential bridge fuel to renewable energy. It is not. The energy infrastructure as it currently exists will meet our needs as we transition off of fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
My name is Victoria Gearity. I am an Ossining Village Trustee and Candidate for Mayor. Municipalities like Ossining and others across Westchester are taking action to get off fossil fuels and expand our renewable energy resources.
The AIM project does not provide a Public Convenience, nor is it Necessary. It serves one purpose, to benefit shareholders of an energy company. And it does so at the risk of my family, my community, and this beautiful Hudson River Valley.
Westchester communities are moving rapidly toward reducing our dependence on carbon and nuclear-based energy sources. My home is one of seven this year to install solar within a 2-block radius. In fact, in 2013-14 the Village of Ossining has approved 32 new solar installations. And the Solarize Westchester program that launched last week is going to help Westchester move even faster down that path.
Also very soon, you are going to see municipalities moving forward with significant solar installations. This is thanks to collaboration between the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and the ongoing efforts of leaders from Sustainable Westchester.
Thanks to incredible progress from Energize NY, properties of all kinds in our region are now becoming more energy efficient. The growing prevalence of green building practices and regulations in Westchester communities further supports our region’s commitment to greater efficiency and decreased dependence on fossil fuels.
Smart and decisive actions by Westchester municipalities and organizations like Sustainable Westchester and Solarize Westchester are making renewable energy sourcing in our region a fast growing reality.
The AIM project creates a potential for catastrophic environmental devastation, protections from the impacts of which cannot be guaranteed. Our land and water, here in New York, are incredibly valuable resources. Our health, welfare, and economy rely on a protected and thriving environment.
This project poses unnecessary risk to a region that is already on its way to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. For these reasons and many more, I ask that the AIM project not move forward.