LANSING - On Monday, Martha Robertson, who is running for Congress, spoke at a Public Service Commission public hearing on her proposal that creates more jobs by retrofitting the Lansing and Dunkirk power plants to co-fire coal with bio-mass.
She believes her plan would break a stalemate between those who would shut the plants down in favor of upgraded transmission lines, and those who propose a full conversion to natural gas. Robertson's "third way" would lower costs and risk, and reduce environmental impacts, while allowing both plants to remain open and creating more jobs for New Yorkers.
Robertson, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature and 23rd Congressional District Candidate, called on the PSC to study "the technical and economic feasibility" of applying this solution - versions of which are already being used widely throughout the U.S. and Europe - to the Dunkirk and Lansing facilities.
In her testimony at the Lansing Middle School in Lansing, Robertson said that technological improvements have made co-firing cleaner and more efficient than ever:
"Viable feedstocks are many and varied, including switch grass, forest by-products, textiles, wood scraps, packaging materials, agricultural waste, and municipal solid waste. With time and innovation, the percentage of biomass used could be increased further, replacing even more coal in the mix," she said.
Robertson's "third way" would create a new market and stimulate the supply chain for feedstocks produced here in New York. "We could become a leader in these technologies. Cornell University and SUNY Fredonia could become hubs for biomass research, creating spinoff businesses and even more jobs, spurring the economy while benefiting the environment," she said.
Robertson believes that her plan could bring business, labor, community groups, and environmentalists together. "The stakes are very high," she concluded. "This is a decision for the decades. We owe it to our children to take the time to explore all options and get it right."