According to the recently published Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded and published by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) our electricity generation for New York State is broken down by these fuel types as of 2009: 30% nuclear, 1% oil, 23% gas and oil, 12% natural gas, 1% wind, 19% hydro, 13% coal, 2 % methane/waste/solar/wood.
This means that when you flip on the light switch in your house most the energy powering that light comes from nuclear power. Nuclear power, after the Japanese nuclear disaster, doesn’t look so good. But because the industry is so powerful it’s tough to get full disclosure of what’s going on with nuclear power in our state. As a matter of fact, in order to get all the facts about what happened in Japan with this every expensive and dangerous energy option you have to go all over the place to find out:
Fukushima Update | Tracking Japan's nuclear crisis “The Fukushima Updates blog is a project of Green Action Japan. Founded in 1991, Green Action is a Japanese citizens organization (NGO) campaigning to stop Japan’s plutonium program. Based in Kyoto, Green Action provides timely information in Japanese and English about nuclear fuel cycle issues. We believe Japanese energy policy should shift away from nuclear fuel cycle development to advancement of conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources. Collaborating with other citizen groups, Green Action has successfully campaigned to bring about a de facto moratorium on Japan’s program to use plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel in Japanese commercial nuclear power plants. We continue to oppose government and utility plans to implement this ‘pluthermal’ program.”
Another 49% of our NYS electricity comes from fossil fuel in various forms that will continue to warm our planet’s atmosphere, which is already at 390ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide and climbing rapidly. 350ppm of carbon dioxide is thought to be the threshold for our continued survival. Only a little bit of our electricity comes from renewable energy, about 2% if you discount hydroelectric which it is problematic because of the damming of our waters and the need for specific water levels, which in turn will be affected by Climate Change. (You really should read ClimAID as it is an incredibly insightful and exhaustive report on the full spectrum of Climate Change consequences happening and likely to happen in New York State.) We certainly don’t need Fracking added to the stress of Climate Change.
We have one more chance before New York State lowers the boom over our future because the Hydraulic Fracturing SGEIS - Comment period has been extended to January 11, 2012. Because of our politics and economics as they are today—dysfunctional and heedless of our relationship to our environment, even as Climate Change warms our state--it’s probably too late to reach back and revive the GLOW program that promised to create a robust renewable energy source for our state. It died a few months ago:
NYPA: Great Lakes offshore wind is dead | Innovation Trail Today, New York's plan for offshore wind in the Great Lakes arrived at its final chapter. The New York Power Authority has officially closed a plan to site turbines offshore in Lake Erie or in Lake Ontario. That's right, GLOW has gone out. (September 27, 2011) Innovation Trail
GLOW died for a variety of reasons which will in retrospect be viewed as short-sighted and oblivious of Climate Change in our state.
Too bad. Because now, instead of producing our own renewable power locally, we are going to potentially jeopardize our public health, our water, our environment, and move recklessly down an incredibly dangerous road called “Fracking.” Some in the media have caught the public concern over an energy option in NYS that will be very difficult to reverse once started.
- Fracking Cracks the Public Consciousness in 2011 - ProPublica It wasn't just that environmental concerns about the underground drilling process finally struck a mainstream chord -- after three years of reporting and more than 125 stories . For the first time, independent scientific investigations linked the drilling technique with water pollution , and a variety of federal and state agencies responded to the growing apprehension about water contamination with more studies and more regulation. The most important development -- and perhaps a crucial turning point -- was in December. In a landmark finding , the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that hydraulic fracturing was the likely culprit in a spate of groundwater contamination that had forced residents to stop using their water in dozens of homes in central Wyoming. The agency had been investigating since 2008. (December 29, 2011) ProPublica
- NCPR News - Hydrofracking review and controversy likely to continue well into 2012 (12/30/11) Hydrofracking has been one of the biggest and most controversial issues facing New York this year, and that's likely to be true in the coming year, too. Governor Cuomo's environmental department is conducting a review process and is likely to begin issuing permits sometime in 2012. (December 30, 2011) NCPR: North Country Public Radio
We are so going to regret permitting Fracking in our state. One of the reasons, one of the major reasons why Fracking was able to roll over public opinion is because the public doesn’t really ‘get’ Climate Change. If the public was aware of the incredibly vast and interconnected Likely Changes that are already here and will escalate in this century, they would not permit this further continuation of drilling for fossil fuels and a Fracking process that threatens our precious water sources: The Great Lakes, The Finger Lakes, our rivers, our wetlands, our streams, and our wells.
If you are against Fracking in our state, there are those who can help—for now. Unlike wind power, which if you don’t like you can disassemble and remove, the spidery webs of hydrofracking will be very difficult to undo. One started, it will be impossible to put the Humpty Dumpty of our environment back together again. Find out more about Fracking and what you can do:
- Drill Bits: Revisiting the Hydro-Fracking Debate - GrowWNY “An introduction to hydro-fracking, a debated drilling process used to harvest natural gas deep within the earth.” GrowWNY
- Welcome to R-Cause: Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction - ABOUT R-CAUSE "R-CAUSE was created by Rochester citizens who treasure New York State and want its waters, land and air to remain clean and its communities to remain viable. R-CAUSE's goal is to inform as many people in the Rochester area as possible about the risks associated with high-volume, slick-water, horizontal hydraulic fracturing. "