CALL TO ACTION:
Urge your local government to adopt a Moratorium on wind and solar development to allow them time to research and create laws that will protect you from many negative health, environmental, and economic impacts.
When you take a close and careful look at the land mass of New York State it is clear to see that the potential for large scale wind development is very limited. We persist with aggressive efforts under state renewable energy goals to build out wind power in the State. But when you consider honestly where that is likely or even possible to happen, much less fair, it is realistically very constrained, and highly suspect from the standpoint of environmental justice.
For both commonsense and fairness we should start by looking at where in New York additional electric power generation is needed, and particularly where clean power is needed. The answer to that question is clearly downstate.
Should not then all open space in downstate areas be utilized first for new generation sites? If the State is reluctant to override what it knows will be intense local opposition in the New York City area, Long Island and the Hudson Valley, where the power is needed and where existing generation is primarily fossil fueled, then it is indisputably the case that the State has essentially accepted the reality of a redlining practice that grants open season for developers to target certain economically challenged upstate areas – areas where the power generation is already clean and not needed, and where the populace lacks the economic power to fight back convincingly against development of those projects.
This is de facto energy redlining of New York – marking off for unprecedentedly intrusive (big, loud and ugly) industrial development, areas of the State that have marginal political clout based on socio/economic factors more than anything else.
Let’s scan the map of New York. Let’s break down the potential for wind power development (on land) in New York State on a county by county basis.
Dissecting Article 23 and Possible Consequences
- Article 23, should lawmakers accept it, is sweeping in its scope and changes all aspects of how power plant siting (including industrial scale wind and solar projects) are permitted and approved. It eliminates the role of local zoning laws, allows for eminent domain takings of land, guts critical environmental review, and limits a town’s taxation and assessment powers and ability to negotiate host community agreements.
- Creates new office of Renewable Energy Siting (RES)
- Article 10 largely replaced by new Empire State Development (ESD) siting process for all projects greater than 10 MW. It would reduce the megawatt threshold of projects that may seek a permit at the state level, as opposed to through local zoning and a State Environmental Quality Review Act process, from 25 megawatts to 10 megawatts. The governor’s proposal also directs the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop sites to construct renewable energy sites that would include site control and agreements with the power grid and local tax entities. Municipalities and local industrial development agencies would have to consult with NYSERDA in setting payment in lieu of taxes agreements while the state would create what the governor terms a “more uniform real property value assessment methodology” for solar and wind projects.
- No more public participation or intervenor funds for public intervenor parties. The proposed changes will alienate local constituents by excluding them from the siting process entirely. Individuals and public interest groups would be excluded from the Article 23 Siting Proceeding. This is a complete reversal of one of Article 10’s primary goals, which is to facilitate meaningful public participation in the siting process.
- Public comments amounting to general opposition will carry no weight.
- No hearings unless town can show “serious and substantial” impact.
- All local laws can be waived by ESD (not the Siting Board) as unreasonably burdensome “in view of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) targets and the environmental benefits of the proposed major renewable energy facility.
- Projects not approved or denied within 1 year are deemed approved.
- New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) will be taking control of PILOTS and setting standard statewide rates. Cuomo’s proposed changes will result in financial benefits to out-of-state energy developers at the expense of local governments and citizens. The changes will authorize the state (rather than the counties, towns and school districts) to cap PILOTs (payments in-lieu of taxes), to standardize the methodology for assessing property values with wind and solar energy facilities, and to create generic permitting conditions that could eliminate a municipality’s ability to identify and study the local conditions and problems that may require mitigation.
- Local impacts will be addressed by reductions in local electrical rates handed out by the PSC.
- New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be handling a net conservation benefit fund to offset environmental impacts (Monetary fund as a substitute for physical mitigation).
- All projects will be subject to standard certificate conditions regardless of local impact. The proposed changes will exempt developers from a rigorous review of local environmental impacts through reliance on state-wide, yet-to-be-determined conditions and automatic approval provisions.
- In a process entirely separate from the new ESD siting process, NYSERDA/NYPA (New York Power Authority) and possibly local IDA’s (Industrial Development Agencies) will have the power to acquire land (perhaps through eminent domain?) for “shovel ready” project sites that would not be subject to either Article 10 or ESD review. The New York State government will be selecting the developer, essentially picking winners, or losers… remember the Buffalo Billions solar debacle. https://nypost.com/2019/02/15/worse-than-amazon-cuomos-buffalo-billion-just-went-bust/
- Article VII is also being beefed up for expedited transmission line build out, including underwater transmission lines.
- There are numerous changes to Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) 487, (currently provides tax exemption)
- Any projects currently in Article 10 can choose to change over to the new ESD process.
The current text of NY's new renewable energy siting law takes up several pages of the 260 page budget bill (S. 7508-B and A. 9508-B). to download 20 page pdf excerpt of lauguage - click here
NY Assembly Bill A09508 (260 pages)
The renewable siting language begins on page 103 thru 122 under Part JJJ, of Assembly bill A09508 and can be found at this source:
UPDATE: "Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act”
Redlining practice that grants open season for developers to target certain economically challenged upstate areas – areas where the power generation is already clean and not needed
ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES FOR
NEW YORK STATE
BY OFFICE AND DISTRICT
(as of January 03, 2020)
The Governor’s rationale for Article 23:
Because of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act New York has set a target of obtaining 70% of its energy from green sources by 2030 and 100% renewables by 2040. The governor believes these goals will not be met without speeding up the process. The previous process known as Article 10 took towns, citizens, property rights, and the environment into consideration when siting potential industrial energy facilities, respecting Home Rule.
But DID YOU KNOW...
That Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act as part of a 30-day budget amendment known as Article 23. This amendment is to the Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (TED) bill. The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, unveiled last week in a 30-day budget amendment is now included in the governor’s 2020-21 budget proposal.
Cuomo proposes consolidating the environmental review and permitting of major renewable energy facilities in New York State into a new office of Renewable Energy Siting, as opposed to the state Public Service Commission (PSC). The new office of Renewable Energy Siting will be able to set uniform standards for siting, design, construction, and operation of renewable energy facilities in consultation with NYSERDA, the state DEC, Public Service Department, Department of Agriculture and Markets and other relevant state agencies and authorities.
The PSC is essentially removed from siting authority, bypassing the current Article 10 for industrial wind and solar projects.
Under the guise of this last-minute amendment to the state budget process, Governor Cuomo is attempting to accelerate renewable energy development at the expense of our towns, our citizens, and our environment. This rushed action will not allow public hearings or the ability for the public to comment before the April vote in the State Assembly and Senate.
FY 2021 Executive Budget Legislation Amendments
Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (TED) Bill (Article 23) https://www.budget.ny.gov/pubs/archive/fy21/exec/30day/ted-artvii-newpart-jjj.pdf
February 25, 2020
Cuomo 'power play' threatens home rule
NEW YORK: Governor pushing to take control of 'green' power sites.
February 25, 2020
N.Y.'s plan to fast-track renewables could get 'ugly'
February 24, 2020
Hodgson Russ Renewable Energy Alert
Governor Cuomo Proposes Major Overhaul of Large-Scale Renewable Energy Project Permitting
February 24, 2020
Permitting for big wind farms could get a lot faster under new Cuomo proposals
February 25, 2020
Cuomo wants more state control of solar, wind energy permits
February 24, 2020
NIAGARA COUNTY: Group formed to confront large-scale renewable proposals.
February 27, 2020
Cuomo Seeks Stronger State Control Over Permits
February 27, 2020
Wind, solar developers happy with Cuomo plans to speed approvals
March 4, 2020 News & Opinion » News
Local governments wary of Cuomo’s renewables review plan
March 6, 2020
EDITORIAL: Push for more control of energy projects troubling
NY Senator James Seward... "This proposal runs roughshod over local residents and local governments... That runs contrary to our home-rule traditions in New York state."
GOVERNOR CUOMO'S POWER GRAB
Protect Your Town
Industrialized wind and solar coming to your small community soon. Learn how and why to take steps to protect your town.
Gerry Geist, Executive Director of the Association of Towns notes, "... proposal empowers the state to supersede the zoning laws enacted by local governments."
The Capitol Pressroom, Syracuse, NY
Feb. 25, 2020: New siting rules and the impact on towns. https://www.wcny.org
New changes to siting rules in the state could have an impact on New York’s towns. Gerry Geist, Executive Director of the Association of Towns of the State of New York, and Sarah Brancatella, the organization’s Legislative Director and Counsel, weighed in on the decision.
NY Senator Rob Ortt "...eviscerates home rule and local input, and that should concern every county executive, every mayor and every supervisor regardless of political party."
January - March 2020
REDLINING NEW YORK COMMUNITIES ?
NY wind projects inefficiency revealed
Northern NY Wind
What you need to know about Industrial Wind Farms