The Madison County Board of Supervisors sent a message May 10, 2022, to the state Climate Action Council that they oppose the current Scoping Plan. There are concerns that the plan does not consider the repercussions of taking over productive farm land to put up solar panels has on our food supply or the high cost of transitioning to all-electric power and heat sources has on our businesses and residents.
The state Climate Action Council, created as part of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, drafted the statewide Scoping Plan to guide the state toward its nation-leading climate goal. The Council is taking public comment on the Draft Scoping Plan through June 10, 2022.
The resolution passed unanimously at the May 10 Board of Supervisors meeting asks the Climate Council to slow down and extend the public comment period until the end of the year.
“Madison County does not believe that the plan has been vetted well enough by the public,” said Madison County Board Chairman John M. Becker. “This document is being drafted by individuals who do not understand that rural New York state is not the same as the cities. This plan will change our rural landscape forever.
“We are not against finding ways to limit our carbon footprint or creating more efficient ways to power our vehicles and our homes; however, taking over valuable farmland for solar panels is not the answer. We are facing food and supply shortages already, and the land out west is drying up. The rich soils and abundance of fresh water in the Northeast are becoming more valuable than ever. We cannot afford to cover even a marginal amount of our farmland by placing non-recyclable solar panels on it. Where is our food going to come from? We need answers to questions like this before implementing this plan.”
Another concern brought up by supervisors during the meeting was the cost to businesses and residents to convert buildings and vehicles to electric from natural gas.
“Our neighboring states are not on the same page as New York State when it comes to this plan,” said Oneida Supervisor Matthew Roberts. “If I have a factory that uses natural gas to recycle paper, I can no longer use natural gas. I am going to move my company to another state where I can use natural gas. This is going to be a huge detriment to our economy. Our businesses are going to disappear because they cannot afford to do business here anymore.”
Madison County supervisors are asking residents to read the draft plan and submit comments. It is important that the Climate Council hear from rural New York state about how this fast-tracked plan will impact our community.