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New York state unveils energy efficiency standards


ALBANY — In New York state government news, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to unveil new state energy efficiency standards before Earth Day on April 22 while Democrats in the state Senate are poised to reunify after years of infighting.

A look at stories making news:

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The governor vowed to release new standards back in January when he laid out his environmental agenda for the year. The new standards would set an efficiency target for 2025, and presumably set out incentives and state assistance to help energy companies, businesses and residents reach the goal.

Last week, several clean energy and conservation groups dropped off thousands of signed petitions to urge Cuomo to set an aggressive goal.

“Energy efficiency is all about doing more with less,” said Jessica Azulay, of the Alliance for a Green Economy. She said that while the state must also expand investments in clean energy like wind, solar and geothermal, energy efficiency is one of the best ways to curb energy demand while also creating local energy efficiency jobs.

Cuomo’s office says more than 110,000 New Yorkers are employed in energy-efficiency related jobs, including technicians who can help lower residential and business energy needs by installing more efficient heating, cooling and electrical systems.

DEMOCRATIC UNITY

Monday will be a big day for Senate Democrats, as the eight members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference will formally rejoin the mainline Democrats.

For years, the Senate’s Democratic caucus has been fractured by infighting between the traditional Democrats and the IDC, which enjoyed an unusual power-sharing arrangement with the Senate’s Republican leaders. Cuomo successfully brokered a deal this month to end the schism.

Under the arrangement, Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, will lead the Democrats with former IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, as her deputy.

Monday will mark the first time the two sides have met as a unified Democratic conference in years.

Republicans will retain control of the Senate, however, but only by the thinnest of margins. Democrats hope to retake the chamber soon, either after two special Senate elections April 24 or after the November elections, when they hope dissatisfaction with Republican President Donald Trump leads to a Democratic wave.

GOVERNOR’S RACE

Retired Congressman Chris Gibson has signed on as campaign chairman for Republican Marc Molinaro’s run for governor.

The Dutchess County executive announced Wednesday that Gibson, a retired U.S. Army colonel, had agreed to join the Molinaro campaign.

Gibson spent 24 years in the Army before serving three terms in Congress from 2011 to 2017 as a Republican representing a congressional district that includes a large section of the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

After announcing he wouldn’t seek a fourth term in 2016, Gibson was eyed as a possible GOP challenger to Cuomo this year. Instead, the 53-year-old married father of three daughters left politics and took a position as a visiting lecturer at Williams College in western Massachusetts.

Molinaro and state Sen. John DeFranciso, of Syracuse, are vying for the GOP endorsement ahead of the party’s convention in Manhattan next month.

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