A coalition of environmentalists, clean energy advocates, labor leaders and Long Island lawmakers gathered at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Hauppauge office Wednesday to urge him to make wind power a priority next year.
To show they have the wind at their backs, so to speak, they presented 12,944 signed petitions from New Yorkers collected statewide by the Sierra Club and the New York Public Interest and Research Group (NYPIRG) that call upon Cuomo to double the state’s current onshore wind capacity and develop new wind turbines offshore.
The event drew bipartisan support from Assemb. Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket) and State Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore).
“Clean and renewable solar and wind power are essential to our energy future, and I encourage my colleagues and the governor to make meaningful progress in the upcoming legislative session to expand the role of solar and wind in our renewables portfolio” said Englebright.
“Wind power is a clean, effective and efficient source of energy,” said Boyle. “Bringing wind power to Long Island will create jobs, boost the local economy and preserve the environment. We urge Governor Cuomo to promote this important source of power.”
Marcia Byrstryn, president of New York League of Conservation Voters called wind energy a win-win for the environment and the economy.
“Energy demand is increasing,” she said. “Rather than spend our dollars on out-of-state energy sources, New York has the opportunity to create jobs and ease grid congestion by generating clean power right on Long Island.”
Cuomo is under pressure from the fossil fuel industry to approve hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state’s Marcellus Shale reserves but he recently postponed his decision until after the 2014 election pending a study by the state’s health commissioner.
“New Yorkers know that we can’t frack our way to healthier communities, and burning more fossil fuels to produce energy will not solve the climate crisis,” said Joe Stelling, environmental campaign organizer for NYPIRG . “The state is failing to meet its clean energy goals, but a strong commitment to boosting wind energy production in New York can get us back on track while protecting public health and our environment.”
Roger Clayman, executive director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, also threw his support behind the move.
“By planning now for the transmission and generation of offshore wind energy, New York can be sure that this great resource will provide reliable clean energy to the public and substantial job opportunities to our skilled workforce for decades,” he said.
“Long Island has an opportunity to chart a new energy path,” added David Alicea, a local Sierra Club organizer. “This outpouring of public support for wind power demonstrates that New Yorkers are ready for Governor Cuomo to make our state a national wind power leader.”