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Opponents of Copake solar farm get a court setback

May 23, 2023 12:51 am

Rick Karlin reports in the Times Union that an appellate division court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit by local activists who want to stop Shepherd’s Run solar farm from being constructed in Columbia County. The lawsuit sought to annul parts of New York’s three-year-old fast track system for approving large new solar farms, administered by the three-year-old Office of Renewable Energy Siting, or ORES. The policy recognizes that global warming has forced a faster switch away from fossil fuels, so it clears certain regulations to allow solar farms to be approved more quickly than usual. The appellate justices concluded that ORES rules overrode the local regulations. Part of the May 18 decision says, “Where State interests are involved to a substantial degree, in depth or extent[,] the State may freely legislate without home rule approval, notwithstanding the legislation’s impact on local concern.... Petitioners' remaining contentions, to the extent not expressly addressed herein, have been evaluated and determined to be without merit.” The opinion from the Third Department appellate justices was unanimous, but attorney Gary Abraham said they were considering appealing to the Court of Appeals, the highest state court. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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