March 21, 2018

NY State Assembly Committee Votes Against Wind Energy Investments Near Military Sites

Statement by Jeff Deyette, Director of State Policy and Analysis, Union of Concerned Scientists

CAMBRIDGE, Mass (March 21, 2018)—The New York State Assembly’s Energy Committee voted today on legislation that would unnecessarily and inappropriately curtail wind energy progress in areas around the Fort Drum military reservation in Jefferson County. The misguided bill, A.9053A, hinders development of otherwise permitted wind energy projects, and could set a troublesome precedent, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

 Below is a statement by Jeff Deyette, UCS director of state policy and analysis for the Climate and Energy program.

“This bill is trying to ‘solve’ a problem that doesn’t exist. The Department of Defense already has a well-established and rigorous siting process in place to evaluate a project’s potential impact on military readiness. If a wind energy project were determined to be a true obstacle to military operations, the DoD would not allow it to be built.

“This bill was ostensibly intended to protect the operations of Fort Drum, a vital economic resource for the North Country. But protections already exist, and this action would instead be a detriment to the economy: If it passes through the rest of the Assembly, the bill could throw millions of investment dollars in flux, and deprive the area of lots of clean jobs.

“Wind power capacity has surged forward in the U.S., with the industry adding 7,000 megawatts in the last year—enough to power more than two million typical U.S. homes. And that’s a good thing, because investments in wind energy technologies are a sound investment in our national security, and in our future. As New York pursues its clean energy goals, decision-makers should be working hard to support, not arbitrarily restrict, renewable energy investments all across the state.”

For more information on the bill, please see the Alliance for Clean Energy New York’s 2018 legislation tracker.

For more information on military permitting for wind projects, please see a related blog, “Valorous Congressmen, Tilting at Windmills,” by UCS Energy Analyst Julie McNamara.