Albany, NY (February 21, 2020) – As part of his thirty day amendments to the Executive Budget, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. This proposal contains a mitigation fund for the protection of threatened and endangered species that are impacted by renewable energy projects and also prioritizes the use of existing or abandoned commercial sites, brownfields, landfills, former industrial sites, and abandoned or otherwise underutilized sites as “Build-Ready” sites for renewable energy projects.
The following statement is from Ana Paula Tavares, executive director of Audubon New York, a state program of the National Audubon Society:
“We are glad to see that the Governor’s proposal includes measures to protect threatened and endangered species and the habitat they rely on. Balancing the development of responsibly-sited renewable energy with measures that protect vulnerable birds and their habitat will ensure we protect our wildlife now as we reach toward a renewable future.
This proposal empowers organizations like Audubon—with expertise in protecting or enhancing the habitat of vulnerable species—to play an important role in shaping our renewable energy future.
By working with project developers and the State, we can implement successful mitigation measures that benefit species that may be harmed by the construction or operation of renewable energy facilities. The Upland Sandpiper, Northern Harrier, and other grassland birds are frequently found on proposed sites for renewable energy projects and it is critical that we find a way for wind turbines, solar panels, and vulnerable birds to coexist.
We are also pleased to see that the State will prioritize the use of existing or abandoned commercial sites, brownfields, and landfills for “Build-Ready” sites for renewable energy projects. This will minimize the amount of quality habitat that needs to be used for renewable energy projects and help decrease habitat fragmentation.
We look forward to working with New York State to maximize the potential for renewable energy while keeping birds and other wildlife safe.”
Audubon New York
About Audubon New York
Audubon New York, a state program of the National Audubon Society, protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.ny.audubon.org.