GOP Lawmaker: Freeze Climate Act Taxes, Fees

State Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick, R-Valley Stream, speaks during a news conference in Long Beach earlier this year to call for local control over offshore wind projects that will affect a barrier island in the area.

A freeze on new energy taxes, fees and regulations is about as likely as a snowball fight in Hades, but state Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick is going to try anyway.

The Valley Stream Republican has introduced legislation (S.8830) in the state Senate to amend the state Public Service Law in relation to limits on surcharge increases that are part of meeting the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick also wants the Public Service Commission to study the costs associated with recent environmental and energy related laws and the value of stranded utility assets resulting in discontinuance and/or abandonment of utility gas infrastructure; and impose a five-year moratorium on new energy taxes, fees and regulations.

“New Yorkers have seen utility bills skyrocket since the implementation of the CLCPA. It is important that we give ratepayers some relief while we figure out exactly what the fiscal ramifications of implementing the CLCPA will be,” Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick wrote in her legislative justification. “Moving forward with the provisions of the CLCPA must come with transparency for ratepayers and getting an unbiased third party opinion is the best way to bring that to fruition.”

A February analysis by the Empire Center for New York State Policy showed the state’s price tag of less than $300 billion for the CLCPA relied on making spending in future years look artificially low. Instead, Ken Girardin, Empire Center research director, said his analysis shows New Yorkers are likely to face $4.9 trillion in new expenses between 2020 and 2050 hoping they will be offset by $4.3 trillion in “avoided” expenses. The difference, about $600 billion in Girardin’s analysis, is more than double the state’s announced figure.

Girardin said the amount utilities, which will pass the costs on to utility customers, must pay to support one megawatt-hour of renewable energy has doubled since 2022, on top of utilities needing to buy more renewable energy. State records examined by the Empire Center also reveal the need, caused by multi-day wind lulls, for more battery storage that could cost more than $100 billion to install–assuming declines in battery prices materialize. Other costs, such as the price of compliance with a new “cap and invest” system, remain unknown.

Girardin also finds state officials made unrealistic assumptions about how the electricity grid will work, appearing to overstate both the output from renewable power plants and the number of oil and gas plants that will be available to back them up. That increases the risk of a mismatch between supply and demand, threatening the reliability of the grid, he said.

“The rush to be first, the arbitrary nature of the Climate Act’s goals and the extent to which the state is relying on opaque modeling has set the state up for costly and economically destructive mistakes,” said Girardin, “Returning climate policymaking to the legislative branch, where it belongs, is the only way to prevent them.”


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