New Bill Would Fund Community Opposition to NYRI
Lupardo to co-sponsor bill and attend Assembly hearing on NYRI proposal
August 22, 2006
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced today that she will co-sponsor legislation requiring companies proposing a major transmission project to pay a fee of up to $450,000, which would help defray expenses incurred by municipalities and community groups actively engaged in the regulatory process. The legislation is being introduced by Assemblyman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), Chairman of the Assembly Energy Committee and Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida), a member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. The legislation proposes critical reforms to the Article VII process, which governs the siting of electric transmission projects in New York State. The bill will provide communities with the financial resources necessary to make their voices heard in a complex regulatory process. These reforms will improve the process for communities and municipalities, many of which are currently unable to hire the experts necessary to intervene effectively. “Currently, communities opposed to transmission lines must raise the money themselves to have a strong local voice in the process,” said Lupardo. “Meanwhile, the communities that fight against power plants have had access to this kind of resource. This bill would level the playing field so that all communities have a voice in energy policy decisions.” Recently, Broome County announced that it will allocate $50,000 from its contingency fund to fund opposition to New York Regional Interconnect’s (NYRI) proposal to build a high-voltage power line that would pass through Broome County. Under the proposed legislation, Broome County would be eligible to have such funds reimbursed. Lupardo will also be attending a public hearing on the NYRI proposal held by the Assembly Committee on Energy. The hearing is being held at the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica on Wednesday, August 23, at 5:00pm. The hearing is open to the public but oral testimony will be accepted by invitation only.