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100+ Officials Want More Clean Energy, Other Climate Project Funding from Albany

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A wide range of elected officials is pushing New York to invest more in renewable energy and green jobs.  The County, City and Town leaders agree the state is more progressive than many others.  But they want more help with local actions to effectively fight climate change.

New York is already on the leading edge of green energy states with the recent Climate Leadership and Community Protection act.  More than 100 Representatives from counties, cities and towns have now signed a letter to ask Albany for more support.  Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Driscoll says the state doesn’t have to pit the environment against the economy.

“We are seeing that when we make these large-scale investments in renewable energy and energy-efficient systems that it is both the ethical decision … and the economic decision.  The example of the Hotel Syracuse (Marriott), we make this $10 million investment and we’re going to see savings; we’re going to see a reduced carbon footprint, and the two go hand-in-hand.”

The Marriott Downtown Syracuse used 10 (M) million dollars for energy efficiency from a special green financing program.  Onondaga County Legislator Mary Kuhn (KYOON) is sponsoring a bill to expand that program to county development projects and non-profits.  She says funding is critical at the local level to make an impact on climate change.

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

“We know that the last three years in Washington there has been a denial of the crisis and given that, it’s required that the state step up and aid the localities, separating ourselves from fossil fuels and funding the development of clean-energy projects.”


  1. Significantly increase state funding, support, procurement, and permitting to deploy large-scale renewable energy across the state. 
  2. Invest in large numbers of good, clean energy jobs in low-income communities and communities of color.
  3. Increase investments in NYSERDA programs, local governments, and community-based organizations across the state to deploy renewable energy, energy efficiency, heat pumps, electric vehicle charging stations, and other needed infrastructure and create incentives for communities to welcome and host grid-scale renewable energy projects. 
  4. Reject permits for all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including new gas-fired power plants and small gas pipelines for residential gas expansion.
  5. Work with utility providers to create a more resilient 21st-century electricity grid to handle increased renewable interconnections, electric vehicles, and electrification. 
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
The group was holding announcements across the state in support of their proposals. Renee Vogelsang with Elected Officials Protecting America (at podium) is backed by City, County and Town officials

The Town of Dewitt has installed l-e-d lighting, bought electric vehicles and put in charging stations as well as built a solar array for town power.  Councilor Kerin Rigney has thanks for state lawmakers for steps taken to help municipalities with incentives.

“… but also to put the pedal to the metal and fully fund needed infrastructure change for the survival of future generations.  We urge you to reject investment in the old fossil-fuel technologies, the very ones that have created the problems that we have now.”

Fellow Town Councilor Katelyn Kreisel in Manlius has helped pass a tax break for solar power and is moving to make it easier for a solar permit.  She adds there’s a social justice component, where those often most affected by environmental problems can’t be ignored.

“The people of Central New York suffer from some of the greatest disparities in income than anywhere else in the United States.  We cannot forget this when we discuss solutions to the climate crisis.  We need to invest in large numbers of good, well-paying, clean-energy jobs in low-income communities and communities of color all around the state.”

The letter also asks lawmakers to reject permits for any new fossil fuel infrastructure, such as gas power plants and pipelines, and divest from fossil fuel interests to ramp up response to the climate crisis.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.