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New York State will soon make a decision on renewable energy subsidies that could have enormous consequences for the Hudson River, communities along the river, and Indigenous communities in Eastern Canada.
The state will award valuable “Tier 4” energy credits to promote the transmission of green, carbon-free electric power to New York City. Seven companies, all proposing to deliver power to New York City with electric cables, are competing for the credits.
Bringing large amounts of renewable energy to New York City is essential to New York’s transition to a carbon-free electric grid. But we must not subsidize projects that cause unacceptable harm to communities or the environment.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE), one of the proposed cable projects, threatens to do just that. The CHPE project relies on power from massive hydroelectric facilities in Quebec. Such facilities have a long history of destroying rivers and harming Indigenous communities by disrupting their relationship with the land and poisoning the food web they rely on with methylmercury. The reservoirs behind dams also produce greenhouse gases.
Other projects, by contrast, would transmit wind or solar power from within New York State, generating jobs and revenue here.
Another distinction: The CHPE project would install underwater cables, tearing up the river bottom, to bring energy to New York City. Electromagnetic fields generated by in-water cables may interfere with the ability of fish to navigate, and with the foraging behavior of sturgeon, a Hudson River icon and endangered species. The installation of the cables could stir up contaminated sediments, affecting drinking water supplies in the mid-Hudson region.
Other proposals would instead deliver power over land, on existing rights of way such as rail and highway routes. Some proposals would use the river, but for fewer miles than CHPE.
Help call on Governor Hochul and New York State to make the right decision.
We have a chance to subsidize truly sustainable sources of energy instead of massive hydroelectric facilities that kill rivers. We have an opportunity to carry energy over existing rights of way on land, instead of disturbing the Hudson riverbed to install a giant extension cord. And we have a duty to support the Indigenous communities in Canada.
Join Riverkeeper in urging New York State to award “Tier 4” energy credits to projects that support New York State businesses, avoid burying cable in the Hudson, spare harm to Indigenous or other populations, and use well-sited wind and solar power.
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Dear: [Decision Maker],
Thank you for your consideration, [Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]