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A07756 Summary:

BILL NOA07756
 
SAME ASSAME AS S06314
 
SPONSORManktelow
 
COSPNSRJensen
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add §13-0107, En Con L
 
Establishes a moratorium on the building or placing of any permanent or semi-permanent wind turbine on bodies of freshwater located within the state and within the jurisdiction and control of the state.
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A07756 Actions:

BILL NOA07756
 
05/21/2021referred to environmental conservation
01/05/2022referred to environmental conservation
05/09/2022held for consideration in environmental conservation
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A07756 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A7756
 
SPONSOR: Manktelow
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to establishing a moratorium on the building or placing of any permanent or semi-permanent wind turbine on bodies of freshwater located within the state or off the coastline   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To establish a moratorium on the building or placing of any permanent or semi-permanent wind turbine on bodies of freshwater in New York State or any freshwater located within the jurisdiction and control of the state.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one amends environmental conservation law by adding section 13-0107 to create a moratorium on the building or placing of permanent or semi-permanent wind turbines on bodies of freshwater in New York State or any freshwater within the jurisdiction and control of the state. A moratorium is also established for the placement of any infras- tructure used to support any wind turbines located in federal waters or waters within the jurisdiction and control of another state. Section two provides the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: Only about 0.4% of the Earth's total water is accessible and drinkable, according to worldatlas.com. Although water covers more than 70% of the Earth's surface, the vast majority (approximately 97.5%) is salt water. Salt water, abundant on our planet, is not only undrinkable, but is also lethal if consumed in large enough quantities, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Freshwater, critically important for life, is actually rare on our planet, because it is mostly inaccessible or nearly impossible to obtain and use. More than two- thirds of the planet's freshwater is frozen, located in the polar ice caps or glaciers. Some freshwater is located at depths too far under- ground to reach. Thus, less than half of one percent of all the Earth's water is actually drinkable. The Great Lakes are the single largest source of drinking water in the world, accounting for approximately one fifth of the freshwater on the entire planet. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that 84% of the North America's surface freshwater is contained in these five lakes, including Lakes Erie and Ontario that each border New York State. About eleven million people rely on Lake Erie for their drinking water. It is also a primary source of fresh water needed for manufactur- ing and food processing, which are both major industries for NYS. Since so many depend on the freshwater provided by these lakes, one must ask, are the alleged benefits associated with placing offshore industrial wind turbines in the lakes worth the risk? Currently, there are many unanswered questions and tremendous evidence that suggests industrial wind turbines present a threat to our environ- ment, including threatening drinking water, wildlife and the delicate ecosystem of our freshwater lakes. Concerns have been raised regarding large sediment plumes created by offshore wind farms in the North Sea and can be observed by NASA satellites. More importantly are the unan- swered questions, regarding the effects that these plumes, sometimes more than one-hundred feet long, have on wildlife including fish and birds. It is not unreasonable to ask, if wind turbines will create simi- lar sediment plumes on freshwater? If so, what effect, if any, will the transport of large amounts of sediment have on the fish and birds living in and around the Great Lakes? What effect, if any, will the transport of sediment have for those that fish professionally or recreationally in the Great Lakes? Even though the lakes are seemingly vast, they are relatively small in comparison to the oceans and any impacts from the industrialization of the waters of our Great Lakes would be magnified. The history of the Great Lakes has seen the vital freshwater it provides threatened in the not-so-distant past. By the late 1960s, Lake Erie was declared a "dead lake" by several publications because it was so polluted. We have come a long way in the last 50 years to bring Lake Erie back from the brink of death, as outline in the best-selling book 'The Death and Life of the Great Lakes', by Dan Eagan. Our industrial past is what brought about the near death of Lake Erie. And while the lake has rebounded, the toxins that poured into the lake for over a century are still buried not far below the surface of the lakebed. Disturbing the lakebed with the construction of industrial wind turbines and pouring millions of tons of concrete, along with steel, fiberglass, oil and other needed materials, into the water will have unpredictable and potentially disastrous results. The environmental devastation and threat to the drinking water of millions is unknown because nowhere in the world has this ever been done on any large scale in fresh water. With so many unanswered questions, the Province of Ontario (Cana- da)decided to issue a moratorium on the placement of wind turbines on Lake Ontario in 2011. In a formal statement pertaining to the moratori- um, Former Minister of the Environment for Ontario, John Wilkinson said, "I was concerned about how this might displace the historically contam- inated sediment on the lakebed and whether it would end up in the drink- ing water system." Mr. Wilkinson also voiced concerns related to"...noise emissions, disturbance of benthic life forms, navigation, potential structural failure, safety hazards and decommissioning." Although numerous studies have been conducted, none has shown conclu- sively, that offshore industrial wind turbines create no adverse impact for freshwater lakes and those that rely on them. One reason for scant research on wind farms and freshwater is that nearly all of the world's off shore wind turbines are located in salt water. For this reason, the Government of Ontario has decided against removing the moratorium on wind turbines. An issue specific to the Great Lakes and its interna- tional border is the detrimental impact a major offshore industrial wind turbine array in the Great Lakes would have on border security. Specif- ically, representatives from the Department of Homeland Security state that industrial wind turbines in Lake Erie would impede radar systems along the US coastline - a critical tool to prevent the illegal trans- port of people and contraband into our Country as well as the fight against terrorism. From a cost-benefit standpoint, the tremendous cost of constructing and maintaining offshore industrial wind turbines results in generating electricity that cost more than double that of land-based wind turbines and three to five times more than electricity generated by natural gas powered energy plants. These are just a few of the questions pertaining to offshore industrial wind turbines. Further concerns regarding commercial fishing, noise, the inadvertent killing of birds and bats, harmful effects on scenic views, potential decreases to property values and the loss of property tax revenue, as well as the questionable benefit in increased energy production when fully considered with these unanswered questions and concerns, explains why, at the very least, additional information is needed. Right now, without answers to these critical questions, placing wind turbines on bodies of fresh water, including Lakes Erie and Ontar- io, is far too dangerous. When one considers that the vast majority, more than 97% of this planet's water is salt water, one must also ques- tion the need to place offshore wind turbines on freshwater bodies, rather than on one of the Earth's immense oceans. For all of these reasons, the first freshwater wind farm in North America should not be located in New York waters, without first obtaining evidence that indus- trial wind turbines pose no threat to the environment and our vital freshwater supply that is essential for all life.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2019/20: S.6718 Referred to Environmental Conservation   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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