Library from New York
Cuomo intends to crush local, home-rule-based opposition. Under the guise of the state’s budgeting process, he intends to declare an “emergency” that will allow him to revamp the process for approving green-energy projects. To wit, the projects are to be fast-tracked, with no regard for local opinion. The state will also acquire needed land, build the necessary infrastructure, including transmission lines, and hand it all over to developers. ... And if a town objects? The state can — and surely will — respond with the legal equivalent of an extended middle finger.
Town Supervisor Dan Pacos said the main changes are an increase in the required setback of turbines from nearby properties, and a differentiation between “large units that connect to the grid as opposed to small units that a farmer wants to use.” The changes were jointly proposed by the town’s zoning and planning boards, he said.
Legislator Mark Odell, R-Brocton, said if Cuomo’s proposal is approved it would limit local public input into renewable energy projects, which includes wind turbine farms. He opposes the governor’s attempt to fast track renewable energy projects. “This is very inappropriate,” he said.
Most of the need for electricity is on the two coasts where the population is clustered while most of the wind resources are far from those clusters; the lack of an infrastructure to transmit the power limits its development. But community-owned wind projects bypass the problem by supplying electricity locally. The money from wind power comes from generating electrical power, not from land rental. We’d like to see that money, and that control, stay local. That way, wind turbines could be placed in locations where they won’t hurt human health or the local economy.
After Shell WindEnergy in 2008 contacted local landowners about leasing property on the crest of the Helderbergs for fifty 380-foot wind turbines, the towns involved scrambled to put ordinances in place. At that time, New Scotland and all four Hilltowns were devoid of zoning related to wind farms. Berne, Knox, and Rensselaerville followed through with zoning laws; New Scotland did not, and Westerlo never undertook the task.
As Guilderland works to amplify and strengthen its solar laws, Kovalchik recommends that the town also begin to work on creating a wind ordinance. He wants the town to join forces with other surrounding municipalities — New Scotland and the Hilltowns — to strengthen their voice, as the state gears up to take over the work of approving large-scale renewable-energy projects.
Across swaths of western New York, anti-solar sentiment has fomented in heated town hall meetings and has surfaced on lawn signs and in Change.org petitions. The movement has had some effect: At least a dozen towns in New York State have placed moratoriums on new solar projects, and several others are weighing temporary bans. Local officials have said that they need time to study the potential impact of the solar farms.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled the details of the awards for 21 large-scale solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York, totaling 1,278 MW of new renewable capacity.
Two wind projects in Steuben County are set to take off as Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday unveiled the details of the awards for 21 large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects across upstate New York, totaling 1,278 megawatts of new renewable capacity.
With a recent town board vote, members of the Cambria Town Board rebuked proposed state regulations that would take away any local control over large-scale solar or wind projects.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has just proposed a 40-page amendment to his 2020-21 budget that will be voted on in Albany before April 1. This will fast-track projects like Alle-Catt and let the siting board choose the locations of all renewable projects, which would be let out for bid to private developers, in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development and NYSERDA.
During a meeting on Tuesday, members of the Niagara County Legislature voted to approve a resolution formally requesting the state budget amendment to be withdrawn. "All of these proposed changes are not only in conflict with our Home Rule rights, but are also contrary to our obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of our constituents," the resolution reads.
The conflict stems from the vacant-land myth: the notion that there’s plenty of unused land out there in flyover country that’s ready and waiting to be covered with wind turbines, solar panels, power lines and other infrastructure. The truth is that growing numbers of rural and suburban landowners are resisting these types of projects. They don’t want to endure the noise and shadow flicker produced by 500- or 600-foot-high wind turbines. Nor do they want miles of transmission lines built through their towns, so they are fighting to protect their property values and views.
A plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to fast-track renewable energy projects statewide by toppling approval barriers is getting the thumbs-down from Long Island officials concerned that the measure will exclude local governments from siting and approval of projects such as solar farms. Cuomo’s administration has been working on a 30-day amendment to his fiscal 2020-21 budget that would change the "Article X" process for siting power plants.
Eric Firkel, Freedom town attorney, said the judge’s earlier decision voiding the 2018 law stated the 2007 law was in effect and acknowledged the 2019 law, which was similarly approved. “It is void on its face. It was not passed with proper procedures. The 2007 law is the current law,” Firkel said.
Gary Abraham, an attorney for residents of the two towns seeking more protective laws than ones passed earlier by the Farmersville and Freedom town boards, pointed out that the examiners, two administrative law judges from the state Department of Public Service and one from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, state that the 2007 Freedom wind law is in effect. That means turbine heights in Freedom are capped at 450 feet, not the 600 feet that Alle-Catt was seeking for its turbines. Alle-Catt had sought a ruling that the town’s 2019 wind law was in effect after a state Supreme Court judge ruled the 2018 wind law had not been legally approved.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last month amended his state-budget proposal to let him ram through approval of wind and solar “farms” over local objections. It’s a classic Cuomo power grab — outrageous both on the merits and in how he aims to pull it off.
Apex Clean Energy intends to file an application with the state in May or June to build 33 wind turbines with a top tip height at 655 feet, making them some of the tallest structures in Western New York. (One Seneca Tower in downtown Buffalo is the tallest building in WNY at 529 feet.)
"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," Simon and Dewart said in a prepared statement.
Towns, citizens, environmental groups, developers and state agencies have operated for almost a decade under Article 10 (the current siting law), so one wonders what changed now that the existing process is hitting its stride. Lord Acton’s quote comes to mind, “All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is a power grab, pure and simple.