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New York Climate Action Council holds public hearing in Tupper Lake on state climate goals

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake (file)
Pat Bradley
The New York Climate Action Council held its only North Country public hearing at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake

The New York State Climate Action Council has been holding public hearings on a plan intended to set guidelines for the state’s climate goals. The only meeting scheduled in the Adirondacks was held at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake Tuesday evening.

The Climate Action Council has been charged with developing a framework to comply with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The law, passed in 2019, intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet a net-zero emission goal. A draft Statewide Scoping Plan was released on December 31, 2021 and the 22-member council is collecting public comment. Before comments were taken in Tupper Lake, Council Executive Director Sarah Osgood provided a brief overview of the law and its goals.

“The climate act establishes very ambitious and necessary nation leading greenhouse gas reduction requirements and sets them in statute in New York for the first time. The feedback that’s received during this comment period will be considered by the council as it works to finalize the scoping plan," said Osgood. "Once the plan is finalized we then move into the process of establishing regulations which will also have public comment periods.”

Keene resident and member of Mothers Out Front Monique Weston urged the use of and funding for heat pumps.

“They’re clean and considerably cheaper than using fuel oil, electric resistance, kerosene and propane. Air source heat pumps are much less expensive although costly enough to require government incentives for installation in existing buildings. We still need the state and federal governments to increase incentives to make the transition to heat pumps off fossil fuels.”

The Wild Center Director of Climate Initiatives Jen Kretser is also a founding member of the New York Climate Education and Resilience Task Force and is also a core team member of U.S. Action for Climate Empowerment. She said while education is mentioned in the draft plan, it fails to address or commit to comprehensive, interdisciplinary climate education and workforce development programs for New York’s 2.6 million youth.

“Public education, awareness, access to information and training and understanding climate change, the impacts and the solutions, is essential. We must as New Yorkers build a culture of preparedness, create appropriately skilled workforce for emerging sectors, build support for state climate policies, reach emissions reduction goals while addressing issues of climate justice especially for communities of color and low income communities. I urge you to elevate climate change education as a key strategy.”

Some concerns were expressed regarding the plan’s approach to wood-based energy.

Lignetics Incorporated has three wood pellet manufacturing facilities in New York state. Northeast Wood Procurement Manager Anthony Woods explained the company upcycles wood waste from sawmills, wood manufacturing facilities and low-grade sustainable timber harvests across the state to make pellets.

“We are concerned with the lack of recognition in the plan of the renewable energy bio-energy sector in New York state being a part of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – the CLCPA. It is not specifically stated that renewable wood energy from pellets will be allowed in any significant way to achieve the goals of the CLCPA. Lignetics strongly encourages the CLCPA scoping plan to incorporate more robustly efficient renewable wood pellet heat and other wood bio-energy sources as being part of the plan to achieve the CLCPA goals.”

The next Climate Action Council public meeting will be held virtually at 4 p.m. today.

The last in-person public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 12th in Peekskill.

The Council is expected to release a final plan by the end of the year.

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