August 8, 2011
New York

Group knocks Article X bill for lack of local input

Joseph Spector, 8 August 2011

A group based in northern New York is taking aim at the recently adopted Power NY Act, saying the measure signed last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo strips local communities of their ability to guide decisions on where new power plants are located.

The group, Coalition On Article X (COAX), said in a statement this morning that the bill “passed with very little public input, late at night behind closed doors. The public’s rights were taken – literally – while they slept. COAX would like to thank our elected officials who did the right thing and voted against Article X, unfortunately many voted yes.”

The new law is aimed at letting the state more easily develop new power plants to replace aging, less efficient facilities.

It creates a seven-person board to oversee the development of power plants in excess of 25 megawatts of energy, which would include wind farms and even some battery-storage facilities. The old law limited the board’s oversight to facilities with more than 60 megawatts, which often left the decision on how to handle smaller power-plant projects to local communities.

The group warns that’s leaving out local communities in the decision making process.

However, supporters of the measure say that the local communities will still play a major role. In particular, power companies will pay for an “intervener fund” of up to $750,000 that could be used by local groups and others to study the effects of a power plant in their community, and also to fund legal bills.

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