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Letter: Legislators, governor must fix siting process

Last year, New York became a national leader in the fight against climate change when it passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The law mandates 70% renewable energy by 2030 and carbon-free electrical generation by 2040. Achieving these goals is not only paramount to address the climate crisis; it will result in cleaner air for us to breathe and more green jobs for New Yorkers.

Setting goals is important, but a plan for implementation is essential for success. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent proposal to streamline the siting of wind and solar projects shows that he is serious about actually meeting our new clean energy goals.

The current Article 10 process for siting renewable energy is clearly broken. Only a few wind projects have worked their way through Article 10 since the policy was adopted back in 2011. Some project applications have simply been withdrawn by developers, while many other applications linger in queue for years. Frankly, given the existential threat posed by climate change, this clearly isn’t good enough.

It is critical that every renewable energy project built in New York is able to stand up to rigorous environmental review. Potential adverse impacts of a project need to be taken seriously and addressed. That said, falsehoods and misinformation should not be taken under consideration in a project review. When someone absurdly claims that “wind causes cancer,” it shouldn’t derail a project that brings clean energy and good jobs to our communities.

New Yorkers are counting on the legislature and the governor to fix the broken siting process and adopt a policy that protects our communities and allows New York to realize its clean energy potential.

Brian Smith

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