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New York Wanted Faster Approval For Renewable Energy Projects. Now Communities Want To Slow It Down.

Ed Suominen
Creative Commons

A special New York state office that streamlines the approval process of renewable energy projects is the target of a lawsuit. Environmental groups and towns are suing because they say they have no voice on projects in their backyard.

The Office of Renewable Energy Siting was created last year to speed up a years-long process to approve large solar and wind energy projects.

Several upstate New York towns, as well as bird-watching groups, said the agency violates state law that requires local involvement in the environmental impact review of the projects. They want a judge to require a total overhaul of the office and give locals a seat at the table.

No Long Island towns are involved in the lawsuit, but the 10 Suffolk County town supervisors raised concerns with the state about the costs and effects several offshore wind projects could have on the commercial fishing industry.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.