Monroe County Legislature protects RG&E, but the community fights on

After nearly a year of advocacy for a public utility implementation study by Metro Justice and its allies, Monroe County took a first vote to join the City of Rochester in funding a study on a public alternative to RG&E in the Monroe County Area. The vote did not pass, with holdouts citing procedural rather than substantive issues. Still, opportunities remain to fund and commission the study.

The Monroe County Legislature voted Tuesday on a proposal to fund a study to replace RG&E with a public utility. Three Democrats joined Republicans in voting  down the proposal. 

The County Legislature had a chance to give our community real answers on what it would mean for Monroe County to have a public utility, so that we can move forward based on facts and a plan recommended by experts. We commend and thank the 12 County Legislators that had the courage and integrity to vote “yes,” stand up to the abusive corporate monopoly that is RG&E, and govern in the interest of the public. 

The three Democrats who voted no  – Howard Mafucci (Pittsford), John Baynes (E. Rochester/Perinton), and Michael Yudelson (Henrietta) – cited concerns about the procedure, rather than the merits of the proposal. 

We find it disappointing that the minutiae of bureaucratic procedure is more important to these three Democrats than acting on the RG&E crisis, or pursuing real solutions to climate change.

Despite their objections that the process moved too fast, finding a solution to the RG&E crisis cannot come fast enough for many Monroe County residents, who face shutoffs and concerns about the accelerating climate crisis. Furthermore, our campaign had been discussing and advocating for proposals to conduct a study with County Legislators for nearly a year. We worked with our allies among the County Legislature to bring funding the study to a vote because it was past time for our elected officials to at least be on public record about their stance. 

The Rochester for Energy Democracy movement remains steadfast in its commitment to enacting the public will for a public alternative to RG&E. The fight is far from over. There is still a path to pursue funding and commissioning a study, especially with a new County Legislature taking office in January.  

Community members can sign the petition for elected leaders to act on finding an alternative to RG&E at metrojustice.org/redpetition, and write their Legislators at bit.ly/ReplaceRGE. County Legislature contact information can be found at: monroecounty.gov/legislature-legislators

We look forward to winning a study, and proceeding with a referendum for a public utility once a study is completed. The public wants an alternative to the multinational corporate mismanagement of RG&E and we are going to keep fighting until we get it.

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  • Mohini Sharma
    published this page in What's new? 2023-11-15 18:12:56 -0500

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