Our staff and Board of Directors have followed the debate around the repowering of the Cayuga Power Plant and filed the following comment with the Public Service Commission on August 16:

Sustainable Tompkins is a local citizen-based nonprofit organization working to create a more just and sustainable community.  We are local leaders in protecting our climate and supporting the transition to clean energy through programs such as our Finger Lakes Climate Fund, Finger Lakes Energy Challenge, and the Climate Smart & Climate Ready conference.

Cayuga Power Plant in Town of Lansing. Photo by Bill Hecht

Cayuga Power Plant in Town of Lansing. Photo by Bill Hecht

First, we want to note our support for the people of Lansing as they struggle with the economic impacts of having relied upon the coal plant to support many of their schools’ programs.  Certainly the State should be increasing their school aid and providing the promised Community Support Fund to help local taxpayers deal with the closing of outdated coal power plants.

Second, we add our voices to those protesting the limited scope of the PSC proceedings.  The proposals offered thus far present a false and narrow choice and an incomplete analysis of the full costs and risks that Lansing residents and regional ratepayers are facing.  We support the proposals by Martha Robertson and several others who are calling for a feasibility study of a range of renewable energy sources that could be combined at the Cayuga facility in order to wean ourselves off all fossil fuels.  We also support the idea that if public funds are used to build a new array of generating facilities based on renewables (whatever combinations of biomass, waste, solar, and stored hydro that might be) that the public become an owner and share in the profits.

Lastly, we strongly urge the PSC (and every citizen debating this issue) to look at the entire cost of each proposal over the long run.  We have to factor in the immense costs to public health and our economy from the environmental damage caused by extreme methods of fossil carbon extraction.  No analysis is complete without looking at all the costs as well as the disparities between who benefits and who suffers from our choices. Read the rest of this entry »