Wednesday December 11, 2019
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New York Turn Down Natural Gas Pipeline

The denial of the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project came as Washington state and Los Angeles also turned their backs on natural gas

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New York, natural, gas, pipeline
A jogger runs past the Scattergood power plant, Feb. 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. Los Angeles will abandon a plan to spend billions rebuilding three natural gas power plants as the city moves toward renewable energy, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday.

 bid to build a controversial pipeline to boost New York’s natural gas supply was rejected Wednesday by authorities, the latest manifestation of a nationwide divide over the United States’ energy future.

The denial of the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project, whose plans included about 23 miles (37 km) of submarine pipeline off New York City’s coast, came as Washington state and Los Angeles also turned their backs on natural gas.

The nearly $1 billion plan by energy infrastructure firm Williams was denied by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which cited concerns over water quality and aquatic life.

“Construction of the proposed project would result in significant water quality impacts from the re-suspension of sediments and other contaminants, including mercury and copper,” it said in a statement.

Washington state and Los Angeles

The decision comes a week after Washington state Governor Jay Inslee opposed two natural gas projects in his state, and three months after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would phase out natural gas operations at three power plants.

New York, natural, gas, pipeline
A bid to build a controversial pipeline to boost New York’s natural gas supply was rejected Wednesday. Pixabay

In a statement, Williams lamented the decision and said it would resubmit an application to obtain the permits.

“The Department of Environmental Conservation raised a minor technical issue with our application for water quality certification,” said Chris Stockton, a Williams spokesman.

Natural gas use grows

Natural gas consumption has been growing steadily across the United States, totaling nearly 30,000 billion cubic feet last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The NESE project would have added 0.4 billion cubic feet a day. It takes 1 billion cubic feet to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

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Though natural gas emits less planet-warming carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels, the pipeline would have been “a step in the wrong direction,” locking the country into a high-carbon future, said Robert Howarth, a professor at Cornell University.

A landmark United Nations report on climate change said last year that to keep the Earth’s temperature rise to a 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F) target would require that renewable energy supply 70% to 85% of electricity by 2050, compared with about 25% now.

“New York should be a leader toward that transition” to renewables, Howarth said. (VOA)

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Will Smith Feels “Emotional” about Homelessness in New York

'Emotional' Will Smith Campaigns Against Homelessness in New York

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Will Smith
Hollywood Actor Will Smith will be campaigning against homelessness in New York. Wikimedia Commons

Will Smith still feels “emotional” about homelessness years after playing a destitute man in one of his most acclaimed film roles, the Hollywood star has told charity campaigners braving a fierce New York winter night to sleep rough.

Hundreds of people had gathered in Times Square on Saturday, rugged up and ready to bunk down in freezing temperatures, in a campaign to raise funds for what organizers said was record homelessness globally.

Smith told the crowd that his Oscar-nominated role in “The Pursuit of Happyness” — a 2007 biopic of a salesman forced to live on the streets of San Francisco with his young son — was a “life-changing experience” that had allowed him to understand the misery of poverty.

Actor Will Smith
Will Smith arrives at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles, March 23, 2019. VOA

“It makes me emotional thinking about it right now,” Smith said. “To not have a place to go and to be able to lay your head down with your children at night is a horrendous tragedy.”

Smith also charmed crowds with a “bedtime story” — a rap rendition of the theme tune to his 1990s hit sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

People in over 50 cities around the world slept on the streets to support the World’s Big Sleep Out campaign, the charity said in a Saturday statement, adding that funds from the New York event would be donated to the UN Children’s Fund.

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“In New York City alone, more people are now homeless than at any time since the Great Depression,” the statement said.

“Over 62,000 people in New York, including 22,000 kids, will sleep in shelters tonight and the number of homeless people and refugees in cities around the world continues to hit record highs with each passing year.” (VOA)