ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Environmental activists delivered more than 50,000 comments to the Cuomo administration on Friday, urging officials to recast the state's energy plan with specific strategies for burning less fossil fuel and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The comments, filed on the deadline for responding to the draft plan issued in January, urge the New York officials to reject additional natural gas drilling as any sort of environmental solution, calling instead for a much stronger push for renewable and cleaner solar and wind power.
The 2014 draft from the state Energy Planning Board says it's meant to put New York on track to reduce emissions and their impact on climate change, meaning global warming. It also calls for keeping New Yorkers' bills below the national average as a percentage of median household income, keeping energy supplies reliable and affordable for business, investing in clean production and driving economic growth.
The plan calls for a 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2010 levels by 2030, meant to put the state on a path to an 80 percent cut in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. One of its 15 proposed initiatives is a $1 billion so-called green bank to help generate private sector capital in clean energy projects.
"There are many promising initiatives in the plan," said Jessica Azulay of the Alliance for a Green Economy, asking those be clarified and strengthened. "But the plan steps on its own feet by also endorsing increased use of natural gas in the state, as well as too much of a hands-off approach to coal, nuclear and oil."
Keith Schue, a former engineer now with Otsego 2000, said the plan fails to adequately address the greenhouse gas methane, released in drilling for natural gas and leaking pipes, which he said is far worse than carbon dioxide. "Instead of becoming more dependent on another fossil fuel, New York needs to go all-in on renewable energy," he said.