Dear Kathy, it’s not me – it’s you!
That was the gist of a Valentine’s Day breakup message sent by a longtime upstate pol in quitting his state board post over Gov. Kathy Hochul’s green policy pushes – especially a proposal to effectively ban gas stoves in new buildings.
“I can no longer in good conscience serve an administration that is advancing policies that I believe are damaging the very foundation of our economy, public safety and health of the entire state,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. told Hochul in his Feb. 14 breakup letter, exclusively shared with The Post.
“A public safety system that is hamstrung by a lack of bail and burdensome discovery laws that punish victims and allow criminals to be released to commit more crimes,” he went on.
“The exodus of people to other states, not because of climate, but because of taxation and over regulation that is fraying the fabric of New York,” he added about stepping down from the NYPA Board of Trustees where he has served since 2015.
The Democratic governor is pushing for the Power Authority, which operates electrical dams and transmission lines across the state, to be more aggressive in helping New York reach its climate goals by allowing it to build more green projects.
She is also pushing for an effective ban on gas stoves in new buildings, beginning with smaller structures in 2025 – an idea Picente, Jr. said in part pushed him out of his longstanding relationship with state government.
The Oneilda pol is suggesting legislators ought to think twice about going along in the state budget due April 1 with Hochul, whose approach to green energy he likened to the pandemic policies of disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“First, Cuomo wanted to know how many people we were having for dinner, now Kathy Hochul wants to tell us how we can cook it,” Picente, Jr. said while referencing the man who first set him up on the NYPA.
But Picente Jr. is also questioning how the electrification push might endanger New Yorkers during future electrical blackouts while somehow finding the money to help people afford green gizmos like heat pumps and electric cars.
“I do not believe NYPA should be competing with the private sector in generating renewable energy, but rather should continue to provide the excellent technical and regulatory,” he wrote.
The high-profile dumping at the hands of the Oneida pol is the latest political headache involving Hochul, who reportedly commandeered a Beechcraft King Air 350 airplane from the quasi-public agency last year.
Power Authority trustee John Howard last year warned that green policies could increase energy bills by billions of dollars as well.
Recent data lends credence to the idea that New York has a long way to go before 70% of its electricity can come from renewable sources by 2030, as required by state law.
New York is lagging in its efforts to expand wind, solar and battery projects to wean the state off fossil fuels like natural gas, with only eight out of 120 big projects announced in recent years currently online, Politico New York reported Thursday.
His new-found discomfort with a lefty governor he has served under for more than a heard comes ahead of the November election in which Picente, Jr. is running for a fifth term as county executive after getting appointed in 2006, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.
“I could go on and on since these are the very things that I, as an elected official, think of before I make decisions that will impact people’s lives and livelihoods. Decisions that need more thought, more discussion and certainly more input from the entire state,” he wrote.
Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays suggested the administration and the Oneida pol could still remain friends despite the sharp-tongued words.
“We thank the County Executive for his service, and we remain focused on delivering energy affordability and reliability to New Yorkers,” Crampton-Hays said.