New York’s state Legislature and Governor Cuomo approved the sweeping ‘Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’ (CLCPA) in 2019, setting in motion an aggressive climate change agenda mandating 100 percent zero-emissions electricity by 2040 through a Climate Action Council charged with developing a ‘scoping plan’ of recommendations to meet those and other targets.
Critics say that plan – up for public comment through June 10, 2022 – is too aggressive and expensive for homeowners and businesses; supporters say the plan is less costly to New Yorkers than would be failure to take immediate, tangible action on climate change.
“Consumer and community decision-making is key, and especially important for the purchase of new passenger vehicles and heating systems for homes and businesses through the next decade,” the CAC says on its website (climate.ny.gov). “(z)ero-emission vehicles and heat pumps will need to become the majority of new purchases by the late 2020s, and fossil fuel-emitting cars and appliances will no longer be sold after 2035.”
The CAC also says “Necessary methane emissions mitigation in waste and agriculture will require transformative solutions. Massive diversion of organic waste from landfills and innovative manure management and animal feeding practices coupled with the capture of fugitive methane emissions.”
Otsego County state Senator Peter Oberacker sent a mailing to his district urging public comment, adding the admonition, “Well intended, this plan could mean higher energy and consumer costs for you.”
“This plan is too aggressive to succeed,” he said to The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta. “They’re talking about telling us we can’t have gas-powered cars and appliances. I know people are
Glimmerglass Film Days this year featured a documentary entitled “Storm Lake” that chronicled the operating of The Storm Lake Times, a small local newspaper in Iowa farm country much like The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta.
The community of Storm Lake endured profound changes in the last two decades as the local farm economy declined and was replaced by a very large Tyson pork processing plant that now employs 2,500 mostly migrant workers. The town’s population is about 11,000; its surrounding Buena Vista County about 20,000 in all.
The film cites corporate consolidation of corn and soybean farming and the “vertical integration” of the pork processing business — a fancy term for owning your suppliers — as the primary reasons for an agricultural downturn. Before the consolidation of the pork business, corn and soybean family farmers in Buena Vista County supplemented their crop business with hogs.
Adrian Kuzminski’s recent article on the benefits of local business ownership and how a simple regulation can effectively hold off big business consolidation gives us another opportunity to better understand the current state of rural economies like ours.
The consolidation and productivity increases in the dairy industry have nearly wiped out the small business farm economy in our region. That economy supported myriad small businesses such as mechanics, electricians, feeds stores, and so on that kept their profits and capital here. This capital was deposited in local banks like Wilber National and rein-vested here as this was their market.
In 2020, Otsego County lost our remaining, local, full-service bank — The Bank of Cooperstown —
when Wayne Bank, a mid-sized regional bank located in northeast Pennsylvania, purchased it. The name
has not changed yet due to the Bank of Cooperstown’s strong local brand.
New York state passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019. The law will propel New York towards a climate change friendly economy that will rely much less on burning fossil fuels for energy by 2050.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan is ambitious. It calls for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, and 70% renewable energy by 2030.
In 2020, New York derived approximately 0.1% of its electricity from petroleum, 1% from coal, 36% from natural gas, 30% from nuclear, 26% hydroelectric, 5% wind and solar and 2% biomass.
The shut down of the Indian Point nuclear plant on the Hudson River, completed in April 2021, decreases carbon-free nuclear power to 20% of the state total and increases greenhouse gas emitting natural gas to 46%, with two new natural gas plants in Orange and Dutchess Counties now operating.
This doesn’t make sense if carbon-free electricity is the goal.