We need more time to assess serious threat on home rule

To the Editor:

The recent surge in visits to the Adirondacks shows that New Yorkers value our woods, waters, mountains, and the open spaces that surround, buffer, and embrace “the Park.” Protection for these areas is now endangered by our own state government. As the pandemic raged, and the deadline for the state budget loomed, an amendment to that budget established a brand new state agency.

The Office of Renewable Energy Siting will now be setting the standards for the siting, design, construction, operation, environmental review, and permitting of large renewable energy facilities (over 25 megawatts). This bypasses the previous Public Service Commission Article 10 regulations, which included and protected local governments and concerns in the process.

On Sept. 16, 2020, this office issued a draft of their new regulations and standards, and the conditions for public comment. Unfortunately, these new guidelines are much weaker than necessary for health, safety, environmental, and property protection in our rural and suburban areas. In addition, the process and timeline for public review and involvement is unreasonably difficult and brief, considering the permanence and profound effects of these installations.

Many New York towns have already been targeted for industrial-scale wind and solar projects because of our large open areas, lower real-estate costs, and less rigorous (or absence of) zoning. Communities have been bullied, bribed, corrupted, strong-armed, and torn asunder by corporations hoping to capitalize on state and federal energy support.

These new state regulations, intended to implement and accelerate the development process, are not the answer. It’s time to utilize the built environment, where this power is needed and used, and stop the sacrifice of our farmlands, fields, forests, and the residents that depend on them.

You; your community group; and your local, county, and state elected officials can, and should, request an extension of the formal comment period beyond the present Nov. 16 date. We all need more time to assess and comment on this serious threat to home rule and the local control of land use.

Your town officials can also tell the New York State Association of Towns, the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, and the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance to request the extension on their behalf.

Requests should be sent to: Office of Renewable Energy Siting, Attention: Houtan Moaveni, 99 Washington Ave., Albany, New York 12231 https://ores.ny.gov/form/contact-form/ 

Get specific information and a summary of the draft regulations with background on industrial wind and solar issues, thanks to our super hard working volunteers. Our website is: www.nnywind.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CitizensForRuralPreservation/ Contact or additional information: nyconcernedcitizens@gmail.com

Please share this information with others. All of our futures depend on it.

Lucia ‘Luke’ Dailey  

The Concerned Citizens

For Rural Preservation

Parishville and Hopkinton, New York

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