Niagara Gazette — Mayor Paul Dyster joined local environmental groups on Tuesday in their call for further investment into renewable energy sources from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.
Dyster accompanied representatives from Sierra Club Niagara and 11 other groups during a press conference at Dug’s Dive restaurant in Buffalo’s outer harbor. The mayor and area environmentalists spoke to reporters with giant, white, wind turbines spinning in the background as they stressed the importance of investing in renewable energy sources while hard winds drove in rain from Lake Erie.
Dyster said renewable energy – specifically hydroelectricity generated by the Niagara River – has played an vital role in the area’s history and needs to play an important role in the future of Western New York as well.
At the beginning of the 20th century Niagara Falls was a “global leader in renewable energy” and that energy drove the economy of the region, Dyster said.
“Some of the most brilliant scientists in the world ... were working in the Western New York area,” Dyster said.
Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse all developed advances in hydroelectricity while working to harness the power of the Niagara River.
Dyster said the discovery of large deposits of fossil fuels made renewable energy less important, but with those resources dwindling it is time to again look to renewable energy.
“I think, today, with leadership from President (Barack) Obama and leadership from Governor Andrew Cuomo, it is time to put a greater emphasis on renewable energy and get ourselves back on the right road once again,” Dyster said.
The Sierra Club’s initiative, which they have dubbed “Turn, Don’t Burn,” is part of a state-wide effort. Branches of the organization will be holding events and running advertisements in Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton and Auburn to urge Cuomo to make New York state a leader in clean energy, Lynda Schneekloth, a Sierra Club Niagara board member, said.