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In a letter to Governor Cuomo, 13 of the 14 members of the Tompkins County Legislature have expressed their support of applications filed by the Empire State Data Hub initiative. The project would include planned closure of the coal-fired Cayuga Power Plant in Lansing and repurposing of the site as a large-scale data center, one of two such centers in Upstate New York.

The letter, dated May 28th, is signed by Legislature Chair Martha Robertson, Vice Chair Shawna Black, and Legislators Amanda Champion, Deborah Dawson, Henry Granison, Rich John, Anna Kelles, Dan Klein, Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Dave McKenna, Glenn Morey, and Mike Sigler.

It urges approval of two Empire State Data Hub (ESDH) applications currently under review by State agencies: one seeking a 125 MW allocation of renewable energy by the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the other requesting $65 million in economic assistance from Empire State Development to support the transition.

In the Village of Lansing Monday, Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne said he had forwarded a suggested resolution in support of ESDH to the Village of Lansing Trustees. He appealed to them Monday to send their own letters of support in addition to passing a resolution, and provided email adresses of state officials that letters of endorsement may be sent to.

"I sent a letter of endorsement today," LaVigne told the Village Trustees. "The Town Board plans to pass a resolution supporting this at our June 19th meeting. I talked to (Heorot Power Vice President of Development) Jerry Goodenough about that. They are in negotiations right now with the New York Power Authority. The best thing we can do is to continue sending letters of support."

The County letter notes that the requested NYPA renewable energy allocation would represent "an almost 10 to 1 MW shift from fossil to green energy" at Cayuga and the associated Somerset site in Niagara County, and that the Cayuga data center, as a separate plan, also proposes construction of a 20 MW solar farm to make large-scale energy storage part of future site expansion. The initiative would close the State's last two coal-fired plants in advance of the Governor's December 2020 'no coal' deadline and would also "[recognize] the economic opportunity in the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy, right here in Tompkins County," the letter states, adding:

"This project has unified many different factions and voices who, over the years, have often taken opposing views on the future of the Cayuga plant… By recognizing the reality of fossil fuel's role in climate change while also presenting an economic opportunity for Tompkins County as we move from the 'old' to the 'new,' the ESDH offers these many different voices a rare opportunity to speak as one."

The company will present an overview of the proposal at a public meeting in the Lansing Town Hall on May 26th 6pm.

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