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Focus more on green options to provide power for our region

Aug. 16 was the last day to comment to the Public Service Commission on whether (1) to repower the Dunkirk and Cayuga coal plants with natural gas (methane) proposed by NRG or (2) upgrade the transmission capacity of the region proposed by National Grid.

The environmental community has supported the transmission option because this proposal provides the most robust and least-expensive option for our community’s future needs of energy.

Supporters of repowering have argued that the absence of the gas-generated plant will force the region to buy dirty coal energy from Pennsylvania and Ohio that would make pollution even worse.

Environmentalists don’t buy that – this is not our only option. We want to keep jobs, clean up the air and water and generate our own energy right here in Western New York. New York has already approved 2,000 megawatts of new wind projects – what’s the holdup? Get that and the New York State solar initiative going and we won’t have to use any greenhouse gas.

As ratepayers, we don’t want to pay the high cost to repower, as citizens we don’t want to pay the environmental and health costs and climate destabilization costs associated with burning fossil fuels.

Let’s urge our legislators to put in place transition support for workers and communities adversely impacted by the closing of the coal plants so we can move into the 21st century of energy. Renewables are doable.

Lynda Schneekloth, Chair

Sierra Club Niagara Group