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State Urged to Strengthen Proposed New Guidelines for Major Power Generators

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State Urged to Strengthen Proposed New Guidelines for Major Power Generators

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Legislature passed a resolution, advanced by Legislator Anna Kelles, that strongly urges the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt more stringent guidelines when revising Greenhouse Gas Emissions standards for major power generators, ones that account for lifecycle emissions and global warming impact of methane, as established by current scientific research.  The vote was 13-1, with Legislator Mike Sigler voting no.  The resolution will be submitted as the DEC proposes revisions to the air quality section of the NYS Conservation Code, setting performance standards for major electric generating facilities, which will require all power plants in New York to meet new emissions limits for carbon dioxide, with comments on the revisions due by July 28th. 

The resolution states that “the Tompkins County Legislature recognizes that while conversion from other fossil fuels to natural gas may seem to provide greenhouse gas emission reduction when looking only at combustion emissions, when full life-cycle emissions of shale gas are taken into account, greenhouse gas emissions from shale gas are no better than or possibly even worse than those of other fuels.”

More than a half-dozen people addressed the Legislature urging support of the measure, including Cornell professor Tony Ingraffia, who had pioneered research on the impact of methane.  Legislator Sigler said he could not support the measure, since he sees that it offers no answer to the energy problem.  Legislator Deborah Dawson said she understands the science and the frustrations that such resolutions can create, but that the real problem is being able to shift from fossil fuels without experiencing economic harm.  She expressed hope that the Legislature might create a working group to address that issue.