Biomass Must Be Part of Our Future Energy Portfolio

Legislative Column by Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River)

In past columns, I have warned of the dangers of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and its ambitious goals at making New York a zero-emissions state. Many deadlines within the plan are not too far in the future, so not only is a complete shift away from clean natural gas a massive undertaking, but it will be financially impossible for most New Yorkers. It is estimated that to fully electrify your home in accordance with the CLCPA regulations, it would cost each homeowner over $35,000. If you haven’t seen the effects of overzealous climate initiatives yet, its next target could be right here in our community at the 60-MW Black River biomass facility.

The biomass facility in Black River has many important uses, including being a driver of economic activity within the community and, even more importantly, it provides energy security for Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division. The CLCPA failing to classify bioenergy as a renewable energy was undoubtedly a mistake, but one that can and must be reversed. This truly is a matter of national security.

Make no mistake, I am supportive of renewable energies and their continued integration into our energy portfolio. I have supported many projects including the Roaring Brook Wind Farm that powers over 30,000 North Country homes. The difference between me and the climate alarmists though, is that I join in the practical views of a majority of our residents. We cannot completely overhaul the energy grid, we can supplement it for sure, but clean natural gas is the only proven energy source we have. When we ask Albany Democrats about their climate plans, they can’t seem to give us a straight answer on the critical issue of grid reliability.

Along with Sen. Ritchie, I have led a bipartisan push to pass our bill (A.9127) that would protect the biomass facility in Black River and any other existing biomass facilities that are within a military installation. Even the possibility of this facility being forced to shut down by short-sighed climate legislation is abhorrent. I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to the Lewis County Legislature for recognizing this problem as well. Let’s get our bill passed.

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office at 315-493-3909 or email me at