Governor Cuomo sent a strongly worded letter last week to the EPA on behalf of all state residents on the final day of the public comment period on the agency’s proposed rule called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE).
The Governor’s letter describes the Trump Administration proposal as a gift to the fossil fuel industry. Although Westchester County gets just a small percentage of its power from coal-fired plants, Trump’s proposal would help any coal-fired plants avoid lowering their carbon emissions.
In contrast, Con Edison and Westchester County are taking steps to expand alternative energy resources and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.
The Governor argues that the recent Trump ACE proposal will “gut the Clean Power Plan and leave devastating impacts to public health and the environment….This proposal will put New Yorkers and all Americans at risk. Instead of living up to its name and responsibility to protect the environment, the EPA is proposing an action that would increase emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, forego billions of dollars in benefits, and result in hundreds of premature deaths.”
According to academic energy and climate law experts at the Sabin Center for Climate Law at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, the proposed EPA rule 1) “sets a very low bar for emissions reductions,” and could enable no reductions as all; 2 ) provides no “numerical standards or targets for greenhouse gas reductions, and states will have wide latitude to establish their own performance targets;”and 3) far from being an affordable rule, it would actually produce “a net cost to U.S. citizens of billions of dollars.”
Many public health and environmental advocates also have noted dire consequences if the proposed rule goes into effect in terms of additional premature deaths, cases of exacerbated asthma, missed school days for children, and additional increases in air pollution.
The Governor’s letter describes an alternative approach being taken by the state. “In New York, we have committed to reducing emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. Through our Clean Energy Standard, we have adopted the most comprehensive and ambitious clean energy mandate in the state’s history, requiring that 50 percent of electricity in New York comes from renewable sources by 2030. Through our participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, New York has proven that it is possible to reduce harmful pollutants from power plants by more than half, all while decreasing energy bills and creating thousands of jobs. And we are creating a low-carbon transportation system by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in supporting the transition to electric vehicles.”
In fact, Westchester County is home to the largest state-supported solar installation for Con Edison at Swiss Re America’s headquarters located in the Armonk service area . It will help New York meet the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard requiring 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030.
In addition, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), helps businesses, individual residents, and homeowners manage their energy costs and resources to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Tips for Westchester residents on energy efficient and fuel saving products for the home, guides for buying a green car, green power, and other sustainable lifestyle information is available here.