Posted in electric stoves, electrify everything, no fossil fuels, transition

Testimony at May 2, 2019 session of City Council

Two Philadelphians—Joe Cox and Meenal Raval—spoke this week against our own municipal utility’s desires to extend their customer base for fracked gas by developing an LNG facility. You can learn more at 350philly.org/NoLNG.

Watch, and/or read testimony below.


Joe Cox, candidate for City Council At Large

Watch Joe at 1:00

 


Watch Meenal at 1:01

Good morning! I’m Meenal Raval.  And I’m here today to speak on 3 items: 170706, 181063, and 181081 – all about the climate crisis and our dependance on fracked gas. I’m aware that only the 2nd one, bill 181063, is on the agenda today.

The first item, resolution 170706 is from September 2017. I bring it up to remind ourselves that it commits the City of Philadelphia to meet or exceed our share of the targets set by the Paris Climate Accord to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Sponsors were many of you here today: Councilmembers Cindy Bass, Derek Green, Kenyatta Johnson, Helen Gym, Curtis Jones, Blondell Reynolds Brown, Bobby Henon, Jannie Blackwell and David Oh.

The emissions from PGW are about 22% of Philadelphia’s emissions. What’s been done to reduce these emissions…in light of our commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, back in September of 2017?

I’m also here to speak on bill 181063, that you’ve heard me speak on before. It’s about the LNG facility proposed by PGW.

Lastly, there’s resolution 181081. Many testified on this last week, discussing the future of PGW beyond selling more fracked gas.

All three of these connected in my head when I read yesterday’s New York Times article titled – Your Gas Stove Is Bad for You and the Planet. It says… to help solve the climate crisis, we need to electrify everything.

This article is highly recommended reading for each of you. Some quotes from it…

In Berkeley, Councilwoman Kate Harrison is proposing a ban on gas hookups in new buildings, part of an effort to make sure the city follows through on its 2018 declaration of a “climate emergency.”

A policy idea for us! Another quote…

Stoves actually use very little energy, but until people are convinced there are superior alternatives to gas stoves, we will not be able to get rid of gas lines to buildings — and start saving large amounts of money by shutting down the gas distribution system.

This article also says that…

gas stoves are polluting our homes. Over the past decade, a growing body of scientific evidence has shown that gas stoves throw off pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. When you are cooking, those invisible pollutants can easily reach levels that would be illegal outdoors, but the Clean Air Act does not reach inside the home.

and

Scientists link gas stoves to asthma attacks and hospitalizations. In 2008, Johns Hopkins scientists urged doctors to advise parents of asthmatic children to get rid of their gas stoves or at least install powerful exhaust hoods. Asthma is a rampant, discriminatory disease, hitting children and communities of color the hardest.

So, I’m here today asking all of you to step up. To remember the Paris Climate Accord and each of your pledges to work towards it. I’m asking each of you to be our climate champion this coming election, and leave us a memorable legacy. There are many of us, ready to to work with you on the transition. Who will it be?

Will it be you…Ms Bass? Mr Green? Mr Johnson?

Or you… Ms Gym? Mr Jones? Ms Reynolds Brown?

Perhaps you… Mr Henon? Ms Blackwell? Or you? Mr Oh?


Posted in no fossil fuels

Testimony at March 14th 2019 City Council session

People keep speaking up against the proposed LNG facility. Witness two speakers from March 14th, 2019.

Watch Meenal at 1:22 – 1:24

Hi. My name is Meenal Raval. I’m here to talk about bill number 181063, otherwise known as PGW’s public-private partnership to develop and operate a liquid natural gas (LNG) processing facility.

I think the public in “public private partnership” refers to people like me, that people like you should be representing. People like me think this project should not be approved. Some of your offices were visited by people like me yesterday.

We’ve heard that our own utility, who wants this project so very much, has accused us, people like me, of spreading mis-information about this project.

I would like to remind Council that the public advocate, hired by the Philadelphia Gas Commission to represent interests of all ratepayers, also has raised concerns about this project. Concerns which have been ignored. Concerns about making this decision based solely on a term sheet, without looking at contracts. Concerns about the City being left with the risk.

I would also like to refer to tomorrow’s global school strike for climate at over 1100 locations globally in over 90 countries, including Philadelphia. The youth have a list of demands, so that they have a future on a livable planet.

One of them is to halt all fossil fuel development. This LNG project is one such project.

Another demand is that every government decision, at every level, is a science-based decision, not just about money, or a few jobs today.

OK’ing this project is a decision that affects all our residents inversely, meaning in a bad way. I trust Council will consider my voice and the voices of the youth tomorrow in their deliberations.

Thank you.


Good morning

Watch Lynn at 1:25 – 1:28

My name is Lynn Robinson.  I’m a union member, voter, teacher, PGW customer, creative soul, who is sometimes not diplomatic enough, but actually means well, director of Neighbors Against the Gas Plants, and a member of the new Pass On Gas Philly Alliance.

Thank you for your kind attention to my message to you today, on bill #181063, Council member Green’s proposed LNG project. 

Here’s the rub.  Let’s reduce PGW’s current debt, down to a rounded off figure of $1 billion. An LNG plant, even if it brings in the unlikely projected maximum of $4 million a year, would pay off PGW’s debt, in 250 years.  If the revenue is closer to the guaranteed amount of $ 1.3 million/year, it would take 769 years.  

The price of delaying a just transition to renewable energy, is just not worth it.  Let’s just be clear about bill #181063.

A new LNG [processing facility] at Passyunk would guarantee more outdoor air pollution, and disease, for those living near the refinery.  

A new LNG [processing facility] would encourage an influx of more methane burning electrical generation plants, like SEPTA’s in Nicetown, within city limits, and result in a delay on renewable alternatives. 

An increase of on site, electrical generation, using methane, would mean more asthma, cancer, brain damage especially in children and elders, less productivity, lower academic achievement levels, and a continuance of Philadelphia’s non-attainment status for ozone.

Selling gas to other locations, encourages the same mess for them, and will push the planet’s warming trend.

Too many of Philadelphia’s incumbents have come under the influence of the Marcellus Shale, and conveniently remained blind to climate science. Natural gas, with its unavoidable methane leaks, is no better for the climate than coal, or any other fossil fuel. 

Open your eyes. According to the EPA, methane leaking to the air has 84 to 87 times the potency of carbon dioxide in the air, for the first 20 years.

PGW must redefine its mission, now, and I challenge Council member Green to step up to the plate, and champion that cause.

There is no amendment to 181063 that can justify adding additional methane gas infrastructure to this city.  That thought is blind to science.  It needs a no vote, based on the facts.

What the city needs now, is a Philadelphia-style Green New Deal, so that we join the worldwide effort to address the climate crisis, by 2030.  A Philadelphia Green New Deal would provide plenty of living wage as well as union jobs to city residents.  

The people’s question is: Will Philadelphia City Council and Mayor continue to be Trump’s left hand, or will you allow the necessary shift away from fossil fuels?

Thank you.


Watch Reverend Greg Holston at 2:05 – 2:08

Reverend Greg Holston of POWER Interfaith speaks on poverty and the need to raise minimum wage – but not at any cost. He also spoke of the need to halt fossil fuel development.