New York’s Green New Deal Faces Some Inconvenient Truths | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

New York’s Green New Deal Faces Some Inconvenient Truths

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


On June 19, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated he would be willing to sign the Climate and Community Protection Act into law.

The long-term goal of the plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050, with benchmark goals including renewable energy powering 70 percent of the state by 2030  and be carbon-free by 2040.  Of course, these lofty goals are attached with lofty costs.  For instance, the bill’s solar energy mandate would require nearly 56 square miles of paneling, an area larger than the city of Buffalo itself.  The funding for the bill emerges from a new tax on New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) that would target companies who would then offload the billions of dollars in taxes onto consumers.  While many on the left hail this as the another step towards an environmental revolution in America, New York should be incredibly cautious regarding their proposal.

New York’s bill accompanies a nationwide wave of states succumbing to the utopian promises laid out in poorly designed Green New Deal proposals. As of July 2019, 13 states including New York have either committed or are pushing for 100 percent renewable or clean energy goals. These proposals derive from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) plan for a federal Green New Deal.  While not a complete bill, the resolutions introduce radical changes across the nation including,  includes 100 percent renewable, zero-emission energy sources, infrastructure upgrades to all existing building for the purpose of energy efficiency, replacing airplanes with high-speed rail systems, guaranteed jobs for every American, economic support for all unable or unwilling to work, single-payer healthcare, and much more.  While there is no definite price tag, cost estimates have reached $93 trillion, more than quadruple the national debt.

Another state that recently fell victim to the green fever is New Mexico which has passed a proposal that mandates that state’s electricity grid be 100 percent carbon-free by 2045. An April 2019 study from the University of Chicago found that mandating “a certain percentage of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources,” increases electricity prices by 17 percent and, “consumers in the 29 states studied had paid $125.2 billion more for electricity.”  Worse yet, these policies, “are inefficient in reducing carbon emissions.” New Mexico contains part of the nation’s largest fossil fuel source, the Permian Basin, and immediately jumping over this opportunity to all renewable energy could harm their economy.

If the dystopic promises of the Green New Deal do not scare New York and New Mexico taxpayers, perhaps the town of Georgetown, Texas will.  Georgetown, Texas is the largest town in America currently pursuing a 100 percent renewable goal.  Al Gore featured the town of 71,000 people in his documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power as a role model for American cities everywhere.  Ironically, he failed to capture the inconvenient truth that Georgetown’s green plans are going under and are taking the town’s citizens with it.  Depreciating energy prices from 2016 to 2018 caused the town of just around to lose $8.3 million dollars on renewable energy contracts.  The town is now going through costly renegotiations of their contracts after they reported they were nearly $23.1 million over budget in both 2016 and 2017.  Mayor Dale Ross argued that his green energy loyalty was a “purely a business decision,” but its doubtful that he would say to retirees dependent on Social Security who now can’t afford to live with the rising energy prices in their town.  Like a carbon tax, Georgetown’s initiatives create a tax sinkhole into which more and more taxpayer money is thrown.

In the time that the entire state of New York wants to reach 70 percent renewable energy, Georgetown wants to reach 30 percent. If Georgetown is floundering in debt and failing to with reach that goal, imagine how deep an entire state would be stuck in debt if they tried something even more ambitious. Georgetown, New Mexico, and New York all involve the government stepping beyond its bounds and interfering in the free market in the name of protecting the environment, causing massive debt and costs to taxpayers. The answer to environmental concerns is private innovation,  not more ideologue politics above the needs of citizens.

-- Ganon Evans 

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