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Letter: Renewable energy is positive for communities, consumers

Letter: Renewable energy is positive for communities, consumers

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Gary A. Abraham, in his scare-mongering opinion column “Green energy burden imposed on New Yorkers,” April 16, conjures up an image of unreliable, unaffordable megacities imposed on rural areas. Actual rural communities which do host quiet, low-keyed solar and wind farms would have a hard time recognizing that picture.

Contrary to Abraham’s view, renewables already are competitive with climate-killing fossil fuel. It is already more expensive to build new fracked gas and nuclear power plants than solar and wind plants, not counting the critical health costs and risks to society of using these older technologies which oil and gas companies do not pay. For fossil fuels in particular, oil and gas companies don’t pay for the asthma and the heart disease they cause through air pollution, the neurological malformations they cause through particulates and the huge social burden of locating dirty power plants in poor communities. What about oil spills? The damage to drinking water caused by fracking? It is absurd to suggest that fossil fuels are economical in any way.

Instead, for our own health and that of our planet, we need to ban new gas plants and move entirely to a decarbonized electric grid in keeping with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Please, Assembly and State Senate leaders Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, prioritize legislation on banning new and the repowering of old ones. In a two-pronged approach, the Public Service Commission and Gov. Andrew Cuomo must deny regulatory permits for gas plants as well.

Meanwhile, the state’s Office of Renewable Energy Siting works with local communities and renewable energy developers to make sure residents are at the center of developing local zoning policy, and provides towns and local groups funding to engage in the siting process which should result in positive local economic opportunity. Introducing renewable energy to communities and consumers is rewarding, beneficial and necessary.

Lynn Saxton


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