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Conesville Opposes RAPID Act

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/19/24 | 4/19/24

By Leila Crockett

CONESVILLE — During the Supervisors County Report during the town of Conesville’s last regular meeting, Supervisor Bill Federice cited mandates set to be imposed by Governor Hochul to streamline processes around gaining the necessary permits to construct Renewable Energy Projects.  As the state falls further behind schedule in meeting proposed deadlines there has been a noticeable trend in the implementation of policy that pushes for expediency over sound, transparent processes.  Previously, goals were set for achieving 70% renewably sourced electricity by 2030 and a zero-emission electric grid by 2040. 

One major detriment to time constraints has been that renewable energy companies who were awarded contracts pre-pandemic saw their projects greatly affected and even derailed in some cases due to inflation as well as supply chain woes. Many of the projects are deemed no longer viable at previously agreed-upon prices. The scramble to make ends meet has been catastrophic to a timeline that may have been a stretch to begin with, resulting in a driving shift toward expedience. 

Federice continued his report by introducing a resolution that was drafted at the County level to be implemented by towns if they so choose. The resolution is in opposition to part “O” of the Governor’s Article VII Revenue Bill or the “RAPID Act”(Renewable action through Project Interconnect and Deployment), regarding the siting of Major Electrical Transmission Facilities. 

The RAPID Act seeks to remove ORES (Office of Renewable Energy Siting) from the Department of State to the Department of Public Service and seeks to consolidate and expedite permitting procedures for major renewable energy facilities under a new Article VIII of the Public Service Law. 

The resolution contends that the RAPID Act has the potential to undermine the sound environmental review of major renewable electric facilities by requiring ORES to render a permit decision within a single year of review. If the deadline is not met, project approval will be automatic and without consideration for project size, or impact on either private property or conservation lands. Also, if passed, the RAPID act will constitute a significant deprivation of Private Property Rights by extending the power of eminent domain to the construction of said energy facilities. In addition, the resolution points out that the RAPID Act will undermine the protection of natural resources by allowing conservation easements to be extinguished anywhere in the state. This would include the Adirondack Park, and Catskill Parks. 

While this resolution is largely symbolic in nature, and not expected to defer or deter any of the measures mentioned here, it has not gone unnoticed by other counties that are being saddled with the same issues as and in some cases experiencing similar environmental impacts such as the water table disruption in Sharon, for instance. Federice claimed that Schoharie county has been invited to speak in other counties that are facing the same concerns with little to no recourse.  

Other Meeting Notes:

*Town Historian Kimberly Young reported that The Conesville Historical Society will be meeting with an architect and a contractor and is seeking suggestions for the renovation/restoration of the Historical Society Space.

*Conesville appointed a new Highways Superintendent, Ward Apgar.  Apgar, who originally hails from Long Island and grew up in the county has more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry.  

*Union contracts have been ratified for the Highways Department. Federice claimed, “This was a very pleasant negotiation.” He said that the workers stuck up for what they wanted as did the Town and were able to come to a resolution. 

*Peter McGuirk has been appointed as the new Code Enforcement Officer and will begin May 1, 2024.


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