Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last month amended his state-budget proposal to let him ram through approval of wind and solar “farms” over local objections. It’s a classic Cuomo power grab – outrageous both on the merits and in how he aims to pull it off.
As Robert Bryce has noted in The Post, many upstate and Long Island communities have been fighting to stop proposed solar- and (especially) wind-power plants that residents fear would scar or otherwise harm their communities.
But Cuomo is committed to the insane goal of having 70 percent of New York’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030. So he’s looking to cut the public out of the plant-approval process, which now requires an OK by a board that includes two local representatives.
His proposal would also allow the fast-tracking of “renewable” projects, further limiting the public’s ability to fight back before, say, a massive number of hideous wind turbines have been erected in a community.
Whatever the merits, this has nothing to do with the state budget; the gov aims to get it done in the budget simply to avoid real public debate. And by announcing it just weeks before the budget must pass, he gave critics even less time to try stopping it.
As Gerry Geist, director of the state Association of Towns, told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, Cuomo’s move would let him ignore local zoning laws and “you ought to make the case [publicly] if you’re going to go in that direction.”
Republican legislators will fight this, but they’re the minority in the Assembly and Senate. Count this as yet another test of whether “moderate” Democratic lawmakers from Long Island and the Hudson Valley are willing to sell out their constituents, as they did with last year’s no-bail law.
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