image of battery storage facility

White Plains, NY — Yesterday, Westchester County Board of Legislator Chair Vedat Gashi (D- New Castle, Ossining, Somers, Yorktown) and Legislator Erika Pierce (D- Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) submitted a letter to Chair Praeprer and Members of the Carmel Planning Board in response to comments from their constituents, as well as those from municipal and County Department officials, expressing their concerns in connection with the proposed action for a 116 megawatt battery storage facility.

The subject property is not only adjacent to Westchester County and the Town of Somers, but the proposed battery storage enclosure is within 200 feet of several Somers homes, with some Somers residences closer to the facility than any Putnam County homes.

Chair Gashi said, “We applaud the development of energy storage systems as part of an effort to decrease reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. However, it is important to consider the impact of such projects on the health and well-being of affected residents. While the Town of Carmel seems to have taken into account the effects of the project on Putnam County residents, the impact on many Westchester families seems to have been ignored. Our primary concern is to ensure that there is a comprehensive and equitable review of the proposed action, ensuring the safety of all our residents.”

Legislator Pierce said, “ All of the research we did on this issue, including reviewing the draft recommendations made by New York’s Inter-Agency Fire Safety Working Group and guidelines adopted in other states, underscore the importance of a full review of safety and environmental impacts and needed protocols, including all stakeholders, which in this case should include those most proximate to the proposed facility, the residents of Somers.”

The letter says, “We want to ensure the safety of all nearby residents, as well as the volunteer and paid firefighters and ambulance workers from adjacent municipalities and Westchester County Emergency Services. We need to better understand how these organizations will be staffed, trained, equipped and funded to provide the crucial services which will protect Putnam and Westchester County residents and workers. This includes incorporating and maintaining best practices for hazard detection, fire suppression and cybersecurity. In addition, we are concerned about environmental impacts to wetlands, soil, air and water quality and potential contamination, all of which extend beyond municipal boundaries. Further, we want assurances that the facility would be able to withstand environmental hazards such as heavy snow, flooding, lightning and earthquakes.”

See the full letter here, which outlines specific requests for next steps.