2011-06-08 / Features

Gianaris Stands Up For Energy Consumers

State Senator Michael Gianaris is continuing his efforts to increase energy affordability for consumers while enhancing energy efficiency and protecting the environment throughout the state. On May 25, Gianaris, along with various senate colleagues including fellow state Senator Jose Peralta unveiled a package of alternative energy bills aimed at making energy affordable.

“We need immediate action to reduce energy costs and increase the use of alternative energy for working class New Yorkers,” Gianaris said. “As Memorial Day and summer approach, it is time we face our affordability, energy and environmental crises head on. With this package of legislation, we can make being green both good for the environment and helpful on the wallet.”

The Alternative Energy Package accomplishes the following:

•Prohibits more than one increase in the price of motor fuel within a twenty-four hour period.

•Provides an incentive for individuals and commercial entities to purchase cleaner, more energy efficient vehicles that have been identified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as clean and energy efficient.

•Requires alternative fuels to be available for public use along the New York State Thruway, and for these fuels to be available at least every 120 miles on each side of the Thruway.

•Restores a fuel cell technology tax credit in effect since 2005, which was eliminated in the 2009-2010 budget process.

•Expands the list of electric generating systems eligible for net metering to include micro-hydroelectric systems.

•Provides vehicle owners utilizing a high mile per gallon fuel efficiency vehicle a ten percent Green EZ-Pass discount on tolls in New York.

•Allows for the creation of a Solar Renewable Energy Credit program to stimulate the installation of solar projects in the state.

A recent report from Goldman Sachs indicates that oil prices may hit $150 a barrel. As a result, gas prices could hit $5 a gallon, which would make traveling prohibitively expensive for working class families.

This energy plan will provide long-term relief on gas prices, and help establish New York as a leader in environmental conservation, alternative energy production and affordable, energy-efficient consumption. It is vital that these bills are passed by the end of this legislative session, in time for the summer and before the affordability crisis gets worse.

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