“A plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to fast-track renewable energy projects statewide by toppling approval barriers is getting the thumbs-down from Long Island officials concerned that the measure will exclude local governments from siting and approval of projects such as solar farms.
Cuomo’s administration has been working on a 30-day amendment to his fiscal 2020-21 budget that would change the “Article X” process for siting power plants.
The bill would create an Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to review and issue permits for new green-energy projects. The move would “ensure permitting decisions are predictable, responsible and delivered on pace to help the state” achieve its goals of a carbon-free grid by 2040.
According to a news release from Cuomo’s office, municipalities would “have an opportunity to advise the office on compliance with local laws.” The permitting office “will consider and may apply local laws” in reviewing approvals, according to the release.
That would be a far cry from the role municipalities such as Riverhead and Brookhaven towns have played in deciding about the placement of solar farms — for instance, when concerns have been raised about clearing trees and the use of farmland.”
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Harrington, Mark. Newsday 6 March 2020.