Gov. Cuomo’s power grab — take action
To the editor:
Are you aware that Gov. Cuomo included the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act as part of a 30-day budget amendment titled Article 23? This amendment is to the Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (TED) bill. The act, unveiled a few weeks ago in a 30-day budget amendment, is now included in the governor’s 2020-21 budget proposal: https://www.budget.ny.gov/pubs/archive/fy21/exec/fy21bills.html. Read TED New Part JJJ (pdf).
This rushed action will not allow public hearings or the ability for the public to comment before the April vote in the state Assembly and Senate.
The governor proposes consolidating the environmental review and permitting of major renewable energy facilities in New York state into a new office of Renewable Energy Siting, as opposed to the state Public Service Commission. The PSC is essentially removed from siting authority, bypassing the current Article 10 for industrial wind and solar projects and its protections.
Article 23 is sweeping in its scope and changes all aspects of how power plant siting (including industrial-scale wind and solar projects) are permitted and approved. It eliminates the role of local zoning laws, essentially eviscerating home rule, allows for eminent domain takings of land, guts critical environmental review, and limits a town’s taxation and assessment powers and ability to negotiate host community agreements.
Under the guise of this last-minute amendment to the state budget process, Gov. Cuomo is attempting to accelerate renewable energy development at the expense of our towns, our citizens and our environment. Whether for or against large-scale renewables, this amendment action is not an honest process for New York citizens, and we believe our state representatives should not allow it to happen. They were elected by us, represent us and are our voice. Do not allow our voices to be silenced in this way. We implore you to contact your state representative now and ask them to reject Article 23 and the process in which it was introduced.
Concerned Citizens For Rural Preservation