Greens on the Public Service Commission
Hawkins Calls for a Green to be Appointed to the New York Public Service Commission
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said today that a Green Party member should be appointed to fill the vacancy in the Public Service Commission (PSC).
By state law, no more than 3 members of any one party can be appointed to the 5-person Public Service Commission, which oversees the electric industry in New York. The legislature recently adjourned without the Governor nominating anyone to fill the present vacancy. The existing term of a second member also expired in February.
“We need a strong consumer renewable energy advocate on the PSC to stand up to the Governor and utility companies. As we heard in the recent Percoco corruption trial, the PSC has become little more than a rubber stamp for Cuomo rather than an independent body looking out for the well-being of the state’s ratepayers. Thus we get a PSC that approves a $7.6 billion bailout for 3 upstate nuclear power facilities and which blocks the development of community solar farms by prematurely changing the net metering rules,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins noted he received just under 5% of the vote for Governor in 2014, making the Greens the third largest party in the state receiving votes for their own Gubernatorial candidate. The Green Party has previously submitted names to Cuomo for appointment to the PSC.
Hawkins has worked on energy issues for decades since helping to organize the Clamshell Alliance in 1976. Clamshell's mass occupation of the Seabrook nuclear power plant site in 1977 sparked a nationwide anti-nuclear movement, resulting in no new nuclear plant construction by the industry for 30 years.".He was one of the first people in New York to call for a ban on fracking and has called for a halt to all new natural gas infrastructure. He advocates a Green New Deal that features a transition to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030
Mark Dunlea, the Green Party candidate for State Comptroller, has helped lead the fight to divest the state pension funds from fossil fuels. He has written legislation for a state carbon tax and to amend the State Energy Plan to set goals of 100% clean energy and net zero carbon emissions by 2030. An attorney, Dunlea used to represent consumers in utility rate cases before the Public Service Commission.
The Greens noted that under Cuomo and the PSC, the state has managed to get only 4% of its electricity from solar and wind. The Greens have faulted Cuomo for his slow progress in developing offshore wind and in siting large scale renewable energy projects. The Greens support an expanded role for publicly owned power; in addition to NYPA, there are 50 municipally-owned power systems and 8 member-owned power cooperatives in NYS. The Greens said that the PSC’s Reform Energy Vision program ended up being primarily about increasing revenues for the investor-owned utilities, rather than achieving a major expansion of renewable energy.
The Green Party says that the PSC must do more to ensure that low-income New Yorkers are able to equitably participate in the transition to renewable energy.
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