To the editor:
I’d like to remind you the climate change is, in fact, of the utmost urgency.
In your editorial, “Don’t shut local governments out,” March 2, you are “in favor of renewable energy,” but opposed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s siting reform because it “needs to slow down.”
The point of the reform is to speed up the existing siting process, in which is takes 8 to 10 years for any large-scale renewables to win approval and get built. This process was created in an earlier era, but we can’t afford that timeline now. The warning from scientists is clear: we have only another ten years, perhaps, in which to drastically curtail the use of fossil fuels. This means quickly building renewable energy generation at scale.
Gov. Cuomo’s proposal recognizes local concerns and offers benefits. It will empower the state to pre-select sites with little to no local opposition, prioritizing sites such as abandoned industrial areas. Local jurisdictions will have a mechanism through which to provide evidence of conflict with local laws, and if necessary, a hearing process. Towns hosting large scale renewables will receive benefits such as reduced electric rates and workforce training for the new, local jobs that will be created.
Like the coronavirus pandemic, climate change is a worldwide crisis that requires urgent, collective action. The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act is a necessary reform that all New Yorkers - including Assembly member Kevin A. Cahill and Senator George A. Amedore Jr. - should embrace.