Copake continues lawsuit against state renewable energy regulations
Ted Remsnyder reports for Columbia-Greene Media that the town of Copake is continuing its lawsuit against the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting regulations, as a large solar energy projects is proposed for the town. Copake is the lead petitioner for a group of 11 towns and conservation organizations appealing a previous court ruling allowing the regulations. Almost everyone agrees that the planet is warming, and that renewable energy is better for the environment than fossil fuels, which often come with payments to countries that harbor terrorists or have a history of human rights violations. But many communities are reluctant to host large renewable energy projects in their backyards. Here, the Copake lawsuits seeks to nullify the state Siting Office’s regulations and require the state agency to launch a new rule-making process that takes other factors into account. “Our clients respectfully disagree with the lower court’s ruling,” said the lawsuit's attorney Ben Wisniewski. “We believe the appellate court on a fresh review will agree that ORES failed to take a hard look at its regulations and how they can adversely impact the environment. We also believe the appellate court will acknowledge that ORES failed to issue any relevant standards for when it can waive local law, thereby violating the powers of local government.” The appeal was filed Aug. 2, a day after the Hecate Energy company provided a revised application to the state for the proposed Shepherd’s Run project, a 60-megawatt solar farm that would be built on a 220-acre parcel on Route 23 and Route 7 in Copake and Craryville if approved. The suit alleges that the the Siting Office’s regulations were written by a consulting firm, Tetra Tech, which is paid by New York State for design and siting services on renewable energy projects. The story only quotes those opposed to the state's regulations who are also opposed to renewable energy projects in their backyards. It does not quote anyone from the state, nor any renewable energy advocates. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.