Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga) and Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte (D-Lewiston) announced legislation they co-authored has moved out of the Assembly’s Energy Committee (A.8712-A). The bill would create a Western New York economic development fund from proceeds from the sale of unallocated expansion or replacement power.
Current law designates or re-designates directly or by sale for resale 250 megawatts of firm Niagara project hydroelectric power as “expansion power” and 455 megawatts of firm Niagara project hydroelectric power as “replacement power” to business in the state of New York located within 30 miles of the Niagara project. The new legislation would direct the New York Power Authority to designate the proceeds of those sales to the Western New York economic development fund, to further benefit businesses within that 30 mile boundary.
“This legislation would create a new resource for Western New York businesses to tap into that would go a long way in helping develop a niche industry for green jobs,” Gabryszak said. “We have a great opportunity here to do something positive for our economy, and I’m hopeful the Senate and governor follow suit.”
DelMonte added that this legislation would also establish eligibility criteria for projects that seek to use the Western New York economic development fund benefits. The criteria will address specific areas such as promoting economic development, maintaining and developing jobs, and encouraging capital investment throughout our state. Applications would be overseen by the Western New York Advisory Board.
"Niagara County hosts the state's largest electricity producer and our job is to fight to make sure local economic development efforts continue to receive some of the benefits of having that power in our backyard," said Assemblywoman DelMonte. "This new fund will continue NYPA's support of our local businesses."
Both Gabryszak and DelMonte agree that during such hard economic times, right now is the time to be investing in and developing industry and this bill would provide the funds needed to make Western New York a leader in what will become an indispensable part of our nation’s economy.