It's not very often that I get to compare power plant legislation with The Onion, but: here goes.
The Onion, a satiric news site, had a fake newscast saying that the coal lobby was warning of the dangers of wind turbines (I've attached the video below).
Why is that funny? Because, jeez, who in their right mind would actually oppose wind power?
Turns out, lots of folks oppose it when you want to put it in their back yard. Fears over health effects, disruption of wildlife and declining property values make the issue a controversial one in the north country. Those who support it point to the potential economic benefits of harnessing green energy, a once-niche but now-burgeoning sector.
We see these drawn-out battles in places like Hammond and Cape Vincent; neighbors fighting over where wind companies will be able to put their turbines. My favorite headline ever included the words "low-down dirty snakes," tossed from one camp into the other during a particularly tense battle in Hammond over figuring out wind power rules.
No more arguments over who's a low-down dirty snake, though, at least not in Hammond. Much of that local control will fly away after Mr. Cuomo signs Article X legislation today, which will bring "siting" (aka, where can we put this stuff?) decisions into Albany's purview.
That has local legislators concerned. When it came up for a vote in the state Senate, Patty Ritchie rose to announce her disapproval, only the second time that I know of that the freshman legislator addressed the chamber on a controversial topic (the first one being the nomination of her former foe, Darrel Aubertine, to Ag and Markets).
Mr. Cuomo, meanwhile, says the legislation will benefit New York's economy. There are many more components to it than wind turbine siting — in fact, in a news release, wind is never directly addressed. Not many people address the controversy here. In some places, like The Onion, it's even mocked.
But up here, Article X is a much different story for wind power foes and friends alike.