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Letter: State needs to expand clean, renewable energy

State needs to expand clean, renewable energy

In last week’s State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced some ways that New York State can lead in holding back climate change and moving to a fuel-free, healthy, and job-creating energy future. While the anti-science, anti-factual, pro-billionaire Trump administration offers to sell off our coasts and public lands to fossil fuel investors, New York, California and other states are joining all the other nations of the world in acting to hold back climate change and expand clean, renewable energy. The plans include:

• Permanent phase-out of the last few coal-fired power plants.

• Expanded offshore wind projects off the Long Island coast.

• Vastly increased electric storage capacity for wind and solar power.

• Aggressive utility-financed energy-efficiency targets, because the gas and oil we don’t burn does not make greenhouse gases.

• Solar energy for low-income households.

• Support for electric vehicles, including buses.

Much more is needed, especially a commitment to no new natural gas infrastructure in New York State. Natural gas, or methane, is advertised as clean but is actually a highly toxic and damaging greenhouse gas and there are feasible alternatives now to heat our buildings.

There is no conflict between clean energy and economic progress; renewable energy has vastly more job growth. The governor’s program moves in the right direction and the Legislature should support his plans and call for more, including just transitions for communities most affected by the fossil fuel economy. We must stop digging up and burning things and use the immense bounty of the earth and sun to power our civilization. There is no time to lose.

Ellen C. Banks, Ed.D.

Chairwoman, Climate and Energy

Committee, Sierra Club Niagara Group

Williamsville

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