A budget amendment seeks to exempt farms from phase out of fossil fuel equipment

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget recently reached the 30 day mark, her time to make amendments. One of her budget amendments includes an exemption for farms using fossil fuel equipment.

Some lawmakers, who recently sent a letter to the governor asking for this amendment, said this is a victory.

“This is important because there’s just not the technology nor the funding or the infrastructure for farms to just electrify. In most cases, the technology doesn’t even exist for certain parts of agriculture. So, I consider this a win,” said Sen. George Borrello (R-57th Senate District).

The governor’s budget plan proposes phasing out the sale and installation of fossil-fuel space and water heating equipment in existing buildings.

Her proposals intend to meet the goals of New York’s Climate Action Council Scoping Plan–which includes achieving 70 percent renewable energy by 2030, 100 percent zero-emission electricity by 2040, a 40 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and more.

But this amendment intends to help agricultural businesses with the economic impacts of these proposals.

Some advocates who said electrification is very challenging in agriculture are grateful for Hochul’s recent budget management.

“Solar panels just can’t do the job that greenhouses meet—for greenhouse heating, for dairy barn heating, or for grain drying. We need a reliable, powerful energy source. And so, we’re happy that the governor recognizes that,” said Jeff Williams, Director of Public Policy for NY Farm Bureau.

Before going into effect, the budget exemptions will have to go through the final budget due on April 1.


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