Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plans for siting renewable energy facilities, such as solar farms and windmills, are meeting righteous resistance from upstate locals.
The intrusive facilities are key to the gov’s $26 billion “clean energy, clean economy” initiative, which Cuomo pretends will boost New York’s post-COVID-19 economy.
The pressure is on his administration to replace the 2000 megawatts of clean energy lost when the Indian Point nuclear plant – which accounted for 30 percent of the state’s carbon-free power production – shut down for good in April after years of harassment by the governor as he pandered to Westchester activists’ overwrought fears.
The wind and solar plants’ output will cost a lot more per kilowatt-hour of generation, though Cuomo means to disguise that fact as best he can. But he can’t hide the fact that 200-plus-acre fields of solar panels are unsightly, nor that huge wind farms kill a lot of birds.
So Cuomo got the Legislature to pass a law that lets him override local objections in siting his alternative-energy facilities, power he’s used to stick it to areas that don’t vote for him anyway.
Local officials, ecology-minded groups and bird-watchers in western and northern NY have gone to court over the state’s new fast-track system that gives a special panel – the Office of Renewable Energy Siting – the power to force plants on communities. It can even overrule local laws on noise and land use.
This governor loves to dictate and hates having to deal with democratic objections to his elaborate plans – and he’s only growing more arrogant late in his third term. God save New York’s freedoms if he somehow survives his endless scandals and wins yet a fourth term next year.
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