The annual budget process for New York State is a complicated and drawn out process that is due for final presentation and approval by April 1st. To the credit of Governor Cuomo, he has been able to present an on-time budget to the legislature with greater frequency than most other Governors.
The process allows for submission of line items and amendments during budget review that may or may not be directly related to the budget.
What happened: On ~ Feb. 21, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced a 30-day budget amendment “to dramatically speed up the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects, combat climate change and grow the state’s green economy.” Many members of the New York State Conservation Council feel that placing this permitting process within the budget bill could effectively limit the ability for a full review by the various stakeholders regarding renewable energy — local town and county governments, farmers, sportsmen, bird watchers, and others who value the quality of our environment.
The New York State Conservation Council feels that construction projects such as on land and off-shore windmills and their possible consequences are so significant that decision making on renewable energy projects should be dealt with on its own and not be a part of the budget process. In studies on renewable energy it is often hard to distinguish the difference between opinion and fact based on the unknown and lack of ability to verify some issues.
With all energy projects, due diligence is the biggest responsibility our elected officials have to the people whom they serve.
The New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC) stands opposed to dealing with renewable energy projects under the umbrella of the budget. There is just a better way.
This matter needs the maximum of due diligence by all who may be affected; and it can only be done by renewable energy being independent and separate from the budget decision making process.
Contact your town, village and state representatives and push for removal of this provision from the budget. Find your state representatives here: NY Senate or NY Assembly and let them know how you feel.
Chuck Parker, President
New York State Conservation Council, Inc.