Friday, September 16, 2011

Oswego Republican County Legislators Vote to Deny Study on Wind Economic Development in Oswego County

A resolution calling for the expressed opposition in Albany of the recently signed Power of NY Act led to heated debate during Thursday night’s full Oswego County Legislature meeting.

In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Power of NY Act of 2011 — dubbed Article X by opponents of the bill — which is intended to increase power production and lead to new investment in New York.

The Cuomo administration has asserted that the measure has the capacity to create thousands of jobs and result in reliable, cleaner energy while strengthening environmental protections. The program allows homeowners and business owners to take out low-interest loans from New York for energy efficiency improvements, which can then be paid back through utility bills.

The debate began when Legislator Mike Kunzwiler, D-Oswego, requested that the resolution be tabled and sent back to the appropriate legislative committee to gather more information regarding the bill.

“I would like to have some of our state representatives come in and answer some of our questions so we can really give (the legislation) the time it deserves, not a … five-minute meeting that took place before this meeting,” the legislator said, referencing a 6:40 p.m. legislative committee meeting that passed the resolution in opposition to the Power of NY Act, which allowed the measure to be handled during the full Legislature meeting, which began at 7 p.m.

Kunzwiler’s request was denied, as a roll call vote of the legislative body regarding the resolution to table the measure received a vote of 21-4 against, with legislators Kunzwiler, Doug Malone, D-Oswego Town; Jake Mulcahey, D-Oswego; and Amy Tresidder, D-Oswego, the voters in favor.

“Really?” Malone said incredulously after the vote.

The legislator brought up the Legislature’s refutation last year of the New York Power Authority’s Great Lakes Offshore Wind farm project, pitched for development in Lake Ontario waters that border the county. The project would have resulted in the possible placement of between 40 and 150 wind turbines in Lake Ontario. The county passed a resolution opposing that project, which was a decision questioned by the Democratic caucus of the Legislature, which collectively expressed that the body was moving too fast and there was insufficient information gathered to refute the project outright.