About Gwendolyn Craig

Gwen is an award-winning journalist covering environmental policy for the Explorer since January 2020. She also takes photos and videos for the Explorer's magazine and website. She is a current member of the Legislative Correspondents Association of New York. Gwen has worked at various news outlets since 2015. Prior to moving to upstate New York, she worked for a D.C. Metro-area public relations firm, producing digital content for clients including the World Health Organization, the Low Income Investment Fund and Rights and Resources Initiative. She has a master's degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She has bachelor's degrees in English and journalism, with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology, from the University of Connecticut. Gwen is also a part-time figure skating coach. Contact her at (518) 524-2902 or gwen@adirondackexplorer.org. Sign up for Gwen’s newsletter here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Joe Kozlina says

    So if i read this correctly the APA master plan was a just hindrance to development in the park so the state just created another agency to override the rules and regulations of the APA. If you just stick to the APA master plan and read all it rules and regulations the indusrtrial solar industry would have no chance of starting the permiting process.
    Taking in just the views as a determination of where and how to build an industrial complex, (lets be clear this is not a FARM) blatantly says, how do we get around the regulations and make much money while telling the people this is good for our energy grid.
    This type of indurtrial development is not sustainable. Again covering our fields forests and food producing lands with black glass is insane. Think about it. Do the calculations. Figure out how much black glass is needed to meet our needs and then see how much land is going to be covered by it. Then calculate how much land is already covered by house roofs, mall roofs, factory roofs, sky scraper roofs, spoiled strips of land between our highways, barn roofs, paved parking lots and you see we already have the area to cover with solar panels to accomplish our energy needs. The infrastructure is already there and the grid is just waiting to be tied into. ROOFS NOT FIELDS. Remember that.

    • Ed Sherman says

      You are BANG ON ! So solar is ok, but omg don’t cut a tree on a snowmobile trail ! That could ruin the whole park ( lol)

  2. Pat Smith says

    Thanks for the article Gwendolyn. Another section of 94-C that is critical is 900-2.25-C on page 70. The second sentence reads “Pursuant to Executive Law Section 94-C, the Office may elect to not apply, in whole or in part, any local law or ordinance which would otherwise be applicable if it makes a finding that, as applied to the proposed facility, it is unreasonably burdensome in view of the CLCPA targets and the environmental benefits of the proposed facility” It’s hard to believe that covering thousands of acres of farmland and habitat holds many environmental benefits. The most aggravating thing is these developers and the state use the name plate rating to base their projections on. The truth is these facilities only operate at about 12-15% of capacity. Boralex gives our town residents the same spiel about producing at 20-23% capacity, while two other facilities located within 25 miles produce at 11.4% and 11.2%. Joe K is spot on in his comment “roof not fields”.

  3. Pat Smith says

    At 2:10 this afternoon the NYS total base load was 16,144 megawatts according to the NYSIOS dashboard. That 4 megawatts per hour isn’t going to go very far, not to mention that the base load will increase as we have to charge cars, heat homes ect.

  4. Joe Kozlina says

    I have yet to hear any argument dealing with which would be better or more sustainable for the people or planet, pertaining to the placement of solar on Roofs compared to Fields. Because there is none. I do hear alot about persons in state and federal govt positions spewing the solar corporate narratives as to the benefits of covering our land with black glass.
    I know which side of the argument would make corporations more money.
    Just to make it clear to any who read this, I am 100 percent for solar, just not on our food producing, forest producing, or wildlife producing lands. ROOFS NOT FIELDS.

    • Boreas says


      I am a staunch alternative energy advocate, but I agree with your assessment. It is essentially ILLOGICAL to implement large-scale solar farms within the Blue Line. If alternate sites cannot be found outside of the Park, side-stepping the APA – an agency formed to protect the Park – should need to at least involve a constitutional amendment to Art. 14.

      It is only logical to install solar farms in existing open or scrub lands where installing new transmission lines isn’t going to destroy existing forests – think rooftops (which you mention), interstate highway corridors, capped landfills, leased farmland, and even apparently now-defunct shopping malls. Pick this low-hanging fruit before cutting intact forests for transmission lines or running them through our lakes. Everyone, especially politicians, forget about the necessary transmission lines. And just say NO to large projects within the Park without a constitutional amendment with public input. It is the PEOPLE’S Park, not the State Energy Commission’s. Sometimes Albany forgets this. Lovers of the Park unfortunately have to keep reminding them.

      We missed any opportunity to reverse our continuing contribution to climate change decades ago. Political and industrial “panic” is now misplaced. Many of these developers and politicians are out to cash in on this panic and tax breaks, and will be long gone in 10 years when the panels start to fail and need to be updated. Pols and developers are ALL ABOUT building projects, but not maintenance of the infrastructure they build. Alternate energies need to be funded for 100 year cycles, not just installation. But this investment will minimize profits to the owners of the energy installation, so it is the first funding to be kicked down the road indefinitely. Take the start-up cash (after selling a bill of goods to Albany) and run.

  5. Adkresident says

    Peak load in NYS is about 34,000 MW which occurs at 4pm. These projects are tax scams, take all the tax breaks away and none would be done. At peak this would produce .00117 % of load.

  6. upstater says

    It would be informative to know how many acres a 40MW project would cover.

    I have a hard time understanding why big solar isn’t mandatory on brownfield sites first. In Solvay, Niagara Falls, Rochester and Buffalo there are thousands of brownfield acres with nearby transmission facilities, but no solar. Because the land is poisoned, it really can’t be used for much of anything.

    For some political reason NYPA seems cut out from renewables development. New York State has excellent potential for pumped storage hydro. Yet this isn’t on the politicians radar because only well connected financial firms provide benefits to politicians. We don’t build meaningful things like NYPA did in the 1950s to 70s.

    Lastly we’re told over and over about all the green jobs that these projects will deliver. Recall the tragic traffic death of 6 solar farm installers last fall near Massena… the victims were all Mexicans. Not local union workers being paid a living wage. It’s not a bug, rather a feature.

  7. wash wild says

    I farm in an intensive agricultural area a little outside the Park. Solicitations to put solar arrays on my fields arrive regularly. The land is in a ag district and zoned agricultural. Our area is a productive bread basket providing milk and eggs for Stewarts Shops as well as fruits, vegetables, beef and maple. There are also wool producers and a vibrant equine industry. Most of the farms here have good markets and would expand if more land were available. The fields and woodlots also host a variety of wildlife and are used by many for recreation.
    New York State has used tax payer dollars to conserve some farmland while at the same time permitting, even encouraging, other nearby fields to be converted to landfills in a classic case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing. NYS continues to promote motorized recreation – snowmobiles, power boats, etc. – while claiming to be serious about carbon emissions. NYS colludes with the education lobby to burden all property owners with a crushing tax levy that encourages subdivision and conversion of farmland. And now NYS is promoting solar on our food producing lands even though there are thousands of acres of big box roof-tops, parking lots and abandoned industrial brownfields nearby. And the State plans to ignore town boards trying to preserve local economies and quality of life. Home rule be damned. I agree with the wisdom in the previous comments but to the well-oiled legislators in Albany such wisdom will slide like water off a duck’s back.

    • Joe Kozlina says

      I think these are the comments and visions of the people our govt never gets to or wants to hear. These kinds of comments are drown out by big money. Most commenters here dont have the time or money to lobby for the logical thing to do. What we do have are lobbiest who have the time and money. Just lacking logic.

  8. Mark Twichell says

    Please recall that the reason ORES was created is because the Article 10 process afforded reasonable opposition to wind/solar projects through intervener funding. Those funds were used to hire attornies and pay for expert testimony on environmental issues which revealed reasons why nobody wants to live near these things. Testimonies also revealed the thin line between a true understanding of wind/solar/power grid realities and the typical hogwash presented by the renewable energy lobby. Article 10 followed the NYS Public Service Commission tradition of respecting’s SEQRA guidelines in determining environmental impact. ACE NY’s Ms. Reynolds led the appeal to Gov. Cuomo to remove the siting process from the PSC’s 7-member Siting Board and give it to ORES headed by one executive. True that the PSC could overrule local zoning regulations, but only after a “hard look” required by SEQRA. ORES violates the trust of NYS citizens by adopting a one-size-fits-all set of criteria for environmental consideration. In other words, the Blue Line is no more off-limits than my wind turbine/solar factory ravaged neighborhood in Northern Chautauqua County. Part of me says, “good for you Blue Liners to get a taste of what the rest of the state is facing”. But the last thing I want is to see the glare of 100 acres of black glass the next time I’m up on Marcy. That visual only represents habitat fragmentation, contaminated soil and water from PFAS running off the treated glass, dead waterfowl mistaking the sea of glass for a lake, no state mandated recycling of the toxic waste of the PV panels, a BESS bomb to store the intermittent 12% capacity factor, the precident for more solar factories to come, and the victory of climate zealots bent on revolutionizing the state’s economy by banning combustion.

  9. Mike says

    The proposed site is for 200 acres. 200 acres cannot produce 40 megawatts. Solar fields are huge eyesores that are detrimental to native pollinators and animals. They produce very little power for the damage they will do both in the long and short term.

  10. Nathan says

    Solar plants (they are not Farms!!!) should not be covering farmland, woodlands reducing CO2 intake. The solar plants should be covering parking lots, roofs, wallsmaybe stone ledges along roads, put where the power not where it reduces land use, but parking lots power is right where you can use in buildings, recharge cars while at work, shopping, ect, requiring less miles of ned power utility lines, every large building is a good solar power plant, 1 it reduces sun on roof, less heat, longer roof life, power goes right to where its needed, less utility lines.
    We need to stop the rampant destruction of farm land needed for ever growing food demands, stop covering meadows, cutting trees and reducing the CO2 absortion, which then actually increases co2 if less is being absorbed. sheer foolishness to think of covering thousands of acres of farm and fields has no choice but to increase CO2. make use of land already wasted, a nice shaded parking lot, and charge car , more senseable.

  11. Ray says

    Let’s put some wind turbines up in the Peaks while we’re at it. Nothing like blades on the skyline to improve the views and inspire the soul. It’s amazing how the environmental left goes silent with bird and animal deaths due to solar arrays and wind turbines. They will look the other way if it doesn’t fit the narrative. The state could also be promoting carbon credits to farmers, which could be as beneficial as leasing their land out to wind and solar, but they seem to want to keep that a secret.
    And still we keep voting them in…..


    CANADA WILL RESCUE THE ADIRONDACKS FROM SOLAR FACTORY DESTRUCTION by allowing a thick layer of smoke and soot to obscure the SUN and blanket the solar panels, making them defective in the Adirondacks. Thank you Canadian winds for blowing smoke towards the Adirondacks !

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