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Former DEC Commissioner and Advocate Nominated to New York PSC

New York, NY - New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the nomination of two individuals to the state's Public Service Commission (PSC), marking a potential shift towards prioritizing clean energy and environmental justice in the state's T&D sector. The nominees include Denise Sheehan, the former commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Uchenna Bright, a prominent environmental advocate.

The PSC plays a critical role in overseeing the state's investor-owned electric utilities, including grid expansion, power generation, and customer rates. Hochul's selections suggest a focus on clean energy development, equitable access to electricity, and potential regulatory changes that could impact stakeholders within the T&D industry.

"These nominees bring diverse perspectives and extensive experience to the PSC," Governor Hochul stated in a press release. "Their expertise will be invaluable as we work to build a cleaner, more reliable, and affordable energy future for New York."

Denise Sheehan, a seasoned professional with a background in environmental policy and energy, is seen as a strong advocate for clean energy development. During her tenure as DEC commissioner, she oversaw the implementation of ambitious clean energy goals and championed policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

"I am honored to be nominated to serve on the PSC," said Sheehan, quoted in the press release. "I am committed to working with my fellow commissioners to ensure that New York has a reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound electric grid that benefits all residents."

Uchenna Bright, an environmental lawyer and vocal advocate for environmental justice communities, brings a different perspective to the commission. Her advocacy focuses on ensuring equitable access to clean energy and addressing the disproportionate impacts of environmental burdens on low-income communities and communities of color.

"This nomination is a recognition of the critical role that environmental justice plays in building a sustainable energy future for New York," stated Bright in a separate statement. "I am committed to fighting for policies that ensure all New Yorkers have access to affordable, clean energy and are protected from the harmful effects of fossil fuel pollution."

The nominations have been met with mixed reactions from stakeholders within the T&D industry. Some industry representatives expressed concerns about the potential impact of stricter environmental regulations on grid reliability and costs. However, others believe that a focus on clean energy and environmental justice can be achieved while maintaining a reliable and affordable electricity system.

"We are confident that the PSC will continue to prioritize the state's energy needs while considering the environmental and social implications of its decisions," commented a spokesperson for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), highlighting the potential for balancing different interests.

The confirmation process for the nominees is expected to take place in the coming months before the New York State Senate. If confirmed, Sheehan and Bright will join the PSC at a pivotal time as the state grapples with ambitious clean energy goals, aging infrastructure, and the need to ensure an equitable transition to a clean energy future. Their presence on the commission is likely to shape the future of New York's T&D sector and influence the decisions that impact utilities, grid operators, and ultimately, electricity consumers across the state.

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