On Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the largest state investment in renewable energy in United States history. Photos: Dennis Schroeder / National Renewable Energy Lab; Don Pollard / Office of Governor Hochul | Illustration: Maia Hibbett
Climate watchers say the state can't meet its renewable energy goals without overriding local opposition.
By Julia Rock

Local residents and Republican lawmakers on Long Island claimed a remarkable victory on Friday, when Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed legislation that would have helped a major offshore wind project deliver power to the grid. The bill had passed with the support of nearly every Democrat in the legislature, but with elections weeks away, members of both parties have seized on local opponents’ zeal. They’re now clamoring to take credit for Hochul’s veto.

The bill would have authorized the city of Long Beach to allow Equinor, the developer of a major wind farm project off the coast, to place a transmission cable under a stretch of city-owned beach. Locals had a bevy of concerns: The turbines, planned at least 14 miles offshore, would be a visual blight. The city would lose out on tourist revenue during construction. The turbines would kill whales. The transmission cable would produce carcinogenic electromagnetic fields.

“We couldn’t withstand it, it was going to alter everybody’s life,” said Long Beach resident Kelly Martinsen, who worked to inform her neighbors about what she saw as the project’s downsides. “We should have the same protections as, say, the piping plover.”

Glens Falls Hospital, part of the Albany Med Health System. JBC3 via Wikimedia Commons
Recent legislation has sought to rein in medical debt collection. But the bills don't stop lawsuits in the first place — and some patients decline care out of financial concern.
By Churchill Ndonwie

IN 2020, the medical law debt collector agency Overton, Russell, Doerr, and Donovan, LLP began garnishing $100 a month from Russell Gosselin's paycheck.

“My boss told me, I hate to do this to you. But I have to take $100 a week out of your check to pay this bill for Glens Falls Hospital,” Gosselin told New York Focus.

The wage garnishing stopped when he changed jobs. Gosselin believes that was because of a bill Governor Kathy Hochul signed last year, which makes it illegal to garnish wages and place liens on people’s homes to cover medical debt. She has yet to indicate whether or not she’ll sign another bill, passed by the state legislature in June, to ban reporting medical debt to credit bureaus.

Despite these measures, many patients around New York remain wary that hospital fees could bankrupt them. Neither piece of legislation stops hospitals from suing patients to collect medical debt in the first place. And the state has not assigned an agency to enforce the ban on garnishing wages, leaving it up to the hospitals to honor the spirit of the law.

"I have never seen such an example of government turning its back on illegal activity,” said Adrienne Esposito. Colin Kinniburgh
The Sand Land mine is defying multiple orders to cease operations. Politicians are at a loss for how to respond.
By Sam Mellins

What does it take to shut down a mine?

Court decisions, a restraining order, legal violation notices, and a stop work order apparently aren’t enough. Sand Land, a sand mine in the Hamptons, has faced each of these this year — and ignored them all.

The latest notice came earlier this month, when the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sent Sand Land a letter citing its repeated legal violations and threatening thousands of dollars in fines. Still, the mining has continued.


“The state has to get over their fear of talking to the public.”

-Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment

Even as experts warn of mass ethnic cleansing in Gaza, New York politicians have remained unwavering in their support for Israel since the Hamas attack. They’ve been less vocal about their state’s ties to the occupation of Palestine. New York Focus reporter Chris Gelardi talked about the story with Radio Catskill.


Copyright © New York Focus 2023, All rights reserved.
Staying Focused is compiled and written by Alex Arriaga
Contact Alex at alex@nysfocus.com

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