Senator O’Mara’s weekly column ‘From the Capitol’ — for the week of May 20, 2024 — ”

Senator O’Mara offers his weekly perspective on many of the key challenges and issues facing the Legislature, as well as legislative actions, local initiatives, state programs and policies, and more. Join us every Monday for Senator O’Mara’s latest column…

This week, ‘Pay attention to where the state’s energy policy is going’

We cannot afford to let this fly under the radar, which is why it remains worth warning again, as many of us have warned in recent years, that the Albany-Democratic climate agenda currently being pushed in this state is a perfect storm of unaffordability, unfeasibility and unreliability.

It cannot be overstated: Since the enactment of what is known as the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in 2019, we have seen Albany Democrats move at world record speed to place one unaffordable mandate on top of another unworkable mandate to stack. at the top of the next unrealistic mandate that attempts to impose a zero-emissions economy on this entire state – and all in all, these actions will come with a devastating price tag and consequences for taxpayers and ratepayers, businesses and industries, school districts, farmers, local economies, and more .

For example, earlier this year I joined legislative colleagues and school district representatives, including Horseheads Central School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas Douglas, to focus on just one fast-moving state energy mandate that, starting in 2027, will require all school buses purchased in 2027 to be in this state electric. We stood together to warn that this is expected to be the most expensive unfunded state mandate ever touch local school districts and property taxpayers. I have introduced legislation (S8220/A8447), sponsored in the State Assembly by Area Councilman Phil Palmesano, to immediately postpone this mandate and do what should have been done long before it was passed, which is to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis; take other measures to ensure affordability, feasibility and reliability; and be upfront with ratepayers and ratepayers about what this will cost them.

Please note that the all-electric school bus mandate is just one of many energy mandates the state already has in the pipeline and is on track to hit all New Yorkers extremely hard in the very near future, including:

> No natural gas in new construction from 2025;

> No new gas connection to existing buildings, from 2030;

> From 2035, no replacement natural gas appliances for home heating, cooking, water heating and drying clothes; And

> No sales of petrol cars by 2035.

The clincher for those of us who have warned about these looming mandates is not that we don’t believe New York State should be moving toward cleaner and more renewable energy, because that’s simply not the truth. We truly believe it, and we have supported actions that are already making New York State a national leader.

New York State consumes less energy overall per capita than all but two other states. Per capita energy consumption in the transportation sector in New York State is the lowest in the country. In 2020, New York State’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions per capita were lower than those of any other state; but then Albany Democrats closed the Indian Point nuclear power plant and carbon emissions in the New York City area have increased by more than 40% since it closed.

The important reality that continues to be overlooked (or ignored) by the other side is that Albany Democrats want 70 percent renewable energy by 2030 and zero emissions by 2040 – despite our state emissions being only 0.4% of total global emissions and recognize that: Even if we could somehow get to zero by imposing these drastic, draconian measures that impose untold hardship on New York’s communities, residents, industries and local economies, this will virtually have no impact on the state, national or global climate.

The latest Empire Center report warns that the cost to New Yorkers could exceed $1 trillion by 2050 – in a state already recognized as one of the least affordable places to live in the country. one of America’s most highly taxed and regulated states. and the state that is losing population faster than any other state in the country.

Consequently, as we enter the final weeks of the current legislative term, we cannot let this fly under the radar of public attention and scrutiny.

The fully democratic energy strategy as it currently stands is not realistic or feasible. It is not responsible or rational. It lacks critical foresight and unreasonably jeopardizes the reliability and affordability of the energy network.

At the very least, it requires reassessment and reexamination before it is too late.