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Gov. Cuomo Vetoes Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Project

Energy

New York Gov. Cuomo announced today that he has officially vetoed the Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas project amid an outcry from environmental groups and surrounding coastal communities. The project was proposed by Liberty Natural Gas off the shores of New York and New Jersey.

Watch his announcement here:

The deep-water docking station would have been built just 19 miles off of the shores of Long Island and would have allowed Liberty Natural Gas "to inject natural gas into the New York-area pipeline, which could lower home heating bills there, among the most expensive in the nation," according to the Associated Press (AP). The company has been trying to obtain approval for the project for years from the federal Maritime Administration, but federal regulations required the governors of New York and New Jersey to sign off on the project, and since Cuomo refused to, the project has now been denied, explained the AP.

“My administration carefully reviewed this project from all angles, and we have determined that the security and economic risks far outweigh any potential benefits,” Cuomo told the AP this morning. “Superstorm Sandy taught us how quickly things can go from bad to worse when major infrastructure fails—and the potential for disaster with this project during extreme weather or amid other security risks is simply unacceptable.”

In a letter sent to the federal Maritime Administration, Cuomo said there were "too many unanswered questions on security on Port Ambrose," including how the project would deal with potential superstorms, which are increasing in frequency because of climate change.

Environmental activists took to the water to voice their opposition to the project.

Environmental groups praised the decision. "Port Ambrose would have threatened coastal communities in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island with the risk of catastrophic spills and explosions and endanger treasured marine ecosystems," said the environmental group Catskill Mountainkeeper, which fought to stop the project.

Many in the surrounding community were opposed to the project, citing fears that the pipeline could become a "target for terrorists or could develop leaks off the shores," reported News12 Long Island. “This is terribly dangerous,” New York area resident Jessica Roff told the AP. “It’s volatile. It’s dangerous. It’s a terrorist threat.”

Earlier this year, Cuomo banned fracking in New York. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said that after years of exhaustive research, fracking "poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated."

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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