By Terry Gipson
Our energy reality is that we are dependent upon non-renewable fossil fuels. The sad consequences of not ending this dependence are well known and just as real.
I want to change those realities by making the Hudson Valley a leader in creating sustainable jobs and long-term economic growth by investing in renewable energy, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomethane, and hydrokinetic power.
I’ve been meeting with businesses that specialize in research, development, production, and installation of renewable energy technologies. These are practical, “can do” companies with exciting futures and good jobs to offer that will kick-start our economy and ignite a renewed interest in science and engineering in our public schools.
This is just the type of renaissance our local communities need: the next step is getting these businesses to come here. We can start by ensuring that the Hudson Valley remains a great place for people to live and work and for companies to thrive. This includes protecting our water supply and not allowing our most precious resource to be used for hydraulic fracturing.
“Fracking” requires millions of gallons of water be trucked to each and every drill site, where it is mixed with toxic chemicals and injected into the earth to “fracture” the shale below to release the natural gas.
By saying “no” to fracking in New York, we will maintain our ability to provide safe drinking water, which is absolutely necessary to building and maintaining a thriving economy. By saying “no,” we will challenge gas companies to use their enormous profits to develop drilling techniques that don’t require taking our water from lakes, rivers and reservoirs and then polluting it.
Meanwhile, our legislature should pass the Solar Jobs Act. It sailed through the Assembly’s Energy Committee and has bi-partisan support in the Senate (S. 4178). A noticeable exception of that support is our present Dutchess County State Senator, Steve Saland. This bill would create thousands of local jobs across a wide range of fields, from education to construction. It is also expected to generate a multibillion-dollar boost in wages and economic output that will be reinvested in New York’s economy.
This smart investing, combined with Gov. Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative (which would quadruple solar power installations by 2013), along with his proposal to invest in a new “energy highway,” will put us at the forefront of sustainable job creation and lay the foundation for an energy policy on which our economy can thrive.
These investments, as the governor has pointed out, will have the added bonus of eliminating the need for Indian Point. Our aging nuclear facility remains a constant safety threat with a peak injury zone that includes New York City, the Hudson Valley, and beyond.
We have the opportunity to become the “Renewable Energy Technology Valley” and the leader in sustainable job creation. If we don’t do this, someone else will.
Terry Gipson is the Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 43rd District.