Following the recent news that the Cayuga Power Plant operators have abandoned their plan to convert from coal to gas, and instead develop a renewably powered data center, solar array and battery storage, Our Mothers Out Front community team held a community event to discuss the coming transition. More than 50 concerned citizens turned out to the Lansing Town Hall last night for our event, "Lansing Takes the Lead on Energy Transition."
Lauren Chambliss kicked off the meeting by telling the group how Lansing Community Team worked to engage the local community around the issue of the power plant saying, "I was really becoming a grandmother that convinced me with the support of Mothers Out Front to get over my fear and go door to door to talk to my neighbors about the Cayuga Power Plant."
Guest speaker, Claire Müller from Toxics Action Center in Massachusetts. Claire told the inspiring story of "Coal to Sol" their successful grassroots campaign to convert the Mt. Tom coal fired power plant to a solar farm in the city of Holyoke. Claire emphasized that though the company can do what it wants with its property, most companies want to be a good neighbor and it's in their interest to have a good faith dialog with the community to ensure that citizens input and concerns are valued.
The community discussion focused on how we can put together a citizen task force to be a liaison among the town government, the company and the community. Concerns such as how and when the plant will be decommissioned, how the workers will be cared for, the clean up of the coal ash and the environmental impact of the data center were all raised as questions for the company.
Renewable energy and home energy efficiency representatives from HeatSmart Tompkins, Nexamp Solar, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Snug Planet were there with information for community members.
Thanks to Lansing Town Supervisor, Ed LaVigne for hosting this event at the Town Hall and for sharing his vision for how the Town government and the community can work together to make this transition positive for everyone. Please join us again on Wednesday, June 26th when representatives from the company will give their presentation.
The video for last night's Holyoke discussion is at: