Effort to save biomass plant could be over

Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 5:03 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - What was in appears to be out. We’re talking about specific legislation in Albany that aims to keep Fort Drum’s biomass plant open.

A last-minute effort to save the facility may be off the table.

In 2019, New York stopped recognizing biomass as a renewable energy source, and the plant, which at one time supplied all of Fort Drum’s energy, is now in the process of closing.

But this legislation, which had been part of state budget negotiations, would have made ReEnergy’s biomass plant on Fort Drum the exception.

A lobbyist advocating to keep the plant open says, from what he can tell, Governor Kathy Hochul pulled that legislation and says it will likely be discussed after the budget is passed.

The perceived problem with that is the timeline for ReEnergy.

The company told 7 News earlier this week, “There is a brief window of time that a restart could be possible, but that window is a matter of days.”

If it’s still viable, the legislation would have an uphill battle.

A letter signed by 21 environmentalist groups says special interest lobbying must not be allowed to derail progress the state has made toward climate change.

“It needs an environmental subsidy and an economic subsidy to keep going, and that’s not where our climate policy should be going,” said

Peter Lehner, managing attorney, sustainable food & farming, Earthjustice.

In a statement to 7 News, Minority Leader Will Barclay said, “The exemption for Fort Drum’s biomass plant needs to advance. Democrats advanced their climate agenda without fully realizing the real-world impacts.”

We have not gotten confirmation from the state as to whether the language specific to Fort Drum has been pulled from budget negotiations or not.

The session continues on April 10.