Draft energy plan draws criticism from environmental activists

Mar 7, 2014

Environmental activists said there needs to be more emphasis on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels at a hearing on the New York Draft Energy Plan in Syracuse Thursday.  

The New York State Energy plan is a comprehensive economy-wide, multi-year plan put together by the state energy planning board. It’s meant to showcase Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy policy.  

Keith Schue, an engineer from Otsego County, said the plan doesn’t have the pieces in place to reach the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions a full 80 percent by the year 2050.

“This is not a plan. That’s the bottom line. What you’ve got is a document that talks about forecasts from different agencies. It doesn’t set out a plan for what New York really needs to do," Schue said.

Among proposals in this plan are a green bank to encourage investment in green industry, and replacement of an aging energy infrastructure.

Schue said there needs to be a bigger focus on renewable energy, and a broader look at hydrofracking. And that focus would go beyond whether to allow energy companies to use the controversial drilling method in New York state.

Activists say for New York state to reach its greenhouse gas emission goal, the governor must ban fracking and investment in new natural gas infrastructure.  

"The thing is, we have to go beyond just saying no to fracking here in New York state," Schue said. "I mean I hope the governor will make the right decision and not allow fracking in New York state.  But the key thing is this: if we continue to allow fracked gas into New York state and if we are users of it, then we are part of the problem.  We’re trying to look at the whole picture here.”

The New York State Energy Planning Board will still accept written comments about the draft plan at the energy plan New York website.