Harckham’s Support of Albany Superseding Local Control Evident With Battery Plant

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State Sen. Peter Harckham’s recent flip-flop on the proposed Mahopac-Somers battery plant was not unexpected. Read the room, Pete. Everyone (outside of the energy profiteers pushing the project) opposes it.

But it would have been nice to see him take ownership of the problem by acknowledging that his previous efforts to force state-mandated zoning changes upon his neighbors was an arrogant blunder.

His legislative failures (among them the disastrous no-bail, no-jail law of 2019) include a bill to give more power to the state over local zoning for projects like this, which he not-so-sneakily withdrew from consideration earlier this year.

Only after months of public outrage did he finally write a tepid letter to the Carmel Planning Board, joining the calls for a moratorium on this project.

If he was sincere in supporting the moratorium, he should’ve made an appearance at the June 19 public board meeting at Carmel Town Hall.

Instead of regret, he has only denial, finger-pointing and a deceitful op-ed to offer us.

He says “the state’s professional and technical input could benefit the decision-making process” for energy projects, which ultimately means giving even more authority to unelected bureaucrats in Albany. He insists that the Carmel Town Board is to blame, criticizing its resolution opposing the state’s attempts to override local control as “unhelpful and diversionary.”

He even called out state Senate candidate Gina Arena, Congressman Mike Lawler and Assemblyman Matt Slater for standing with our community in opposition to this project. Harckham says “Republicans at all levels of government” are taking advantage of the issue that he and his Democratic colleagues in Albany helped create.

All three of these Republicans have been on the ground and regularly engaging with the community, while Harckham criticizes efforts from both the town’s leadership and grassroots activists to stop this battery plant.

Will Harckham learn his lesson and finally tell Hochul and Albany Democrats that the Hudson Valley is sick of the state’s disdain for local control? Only time will tell. But if Albany doesn’t get the message, then on Election Day we’ll be sending them another, loud and clear. Voters have had enough.

Lisa Galiardo

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