A collective of pro-Home Rule Cambria residents gathered this week at the local town park, discussing ways to have their voices heard in deterring Cyprus Creek Renewables and the State of New York from forging through public opinion in the development of a new energy installation.
Sharon Tasner, who last year bought a home in Cambria near where the proposed Bear Ridge Solar Project will be erected, said the real estate agent wasn’t legally required to tell her about the possible construction of a massive energy installation.
Leading the meeting, Tasner said, “We have done well in the past year, regarding getting our message out there. We have strong support from our town, the county, and the school system.” She added, “It doesn’t mean that Cyprus Creek Renewables isn’t pursuing this because they are.”
Tasner was quick to touch upon Article 10, which expediates and nurtures proposals of renewable energy projects for the companies who wish to sell them. Additionally, Section 94-C of Article 6 was quickly passed in March of this year. The goal of this relatively new piece of legislation, as described by the NY State Senate website:
“It is the purpose of this section to consolidate the environmental review and permitting of major renewable energy facilities in this state and to provide a single forum in which the office of renewable energy siting created by this section may undertake a coordinated and timely review of proposed major renewable energy facilities to meet the state’s renewable energy goals while ensuring the protection of the environment and consideration of all pertinent social, economic and environmental factors in the decision to permit such facilities as more specifically provided in this section.”
The members at this meeting largely disagree that all “pertinent social, economic and environmental factors” are being taken into consideration for the local population.
Wright H. Ellis, Town of Cambria Supervisor, was in attendance and recently watched a recorded meeting from June 30th by the New York State Department of Public Service which holds considerable oversight on statewide renewable energy projects and whether they get through for development. The meeting was not reassuring, Ellis explained, “I do know there are two places in there where the Chairman of the D.P.S. in this discussion about property values, he makes the comment that they understand the property values fall up to 50% within one mile of the installation. He looks at that several times and indicates it should not affect the project.”
Ellis’s hope, “Get it to the Assembly and Senate, and really make a big case based on this issue of Home Rule.” He added on this unique ability of New York to accelerate energy projects, “There’s nothing like that in any other state process at all. Also, this can be very easily expanded to other facets of county government.”
Lastly, Tasner explained her overall position, “In the past year, we’ve looked at all avenues about solar. We have looked at the health detriments. We’ve looked at the environmental issues, which are profound. We’ve looked at the quality of life and the visual impact. We’ve looked at the taxes and the sale of our homes.” After all of that, the answer is a definitive no for Tasner. She added, “They want to listen, but unfortunately, their minds are made up. We find this unacceptable.”