Assemblyman Pete Lopez Calls For Power Authority To Send Relief Aid To Recovering Communities In 127th Assembly District

October 9, 2011
Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie) has sent a letter to the two top leaders of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Michael Townsend, chairman, and Gil Quinones, acting president and CEO, requesting that they fast-forward discussions regarding reauthorizing the operating license for the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in light of the impact Tropical Storms Irene and Lee had on the region.

Assemblyman Lopez wrote to the NYPA executives, “I am concerned that if we do not take necessary steps to support the hardest hit areas of these storms (i.e., Schoharie, Middleburgh, Prattsville, Ashland, and Windham) there is a serious risk that these communities will never make a full recovery. With that in mind, I am respectfully requesting your active support in fast-forwarding the upcoming reauthorization process of identifying and awarding economic benefits that will be available to Schoharie, as well as northern Greene and Delaware counties, during this complicated, multi-year process.”

“As the residents in my district continue to struggle to rebuild in the wake of two tropical storms that devastated many families and community members, we are coming to the realization that emergency aid and financial relief provided through traditional programs may not be sufficient to meet a seemingly endless and ever-growing list of needs,” he continued. “Clearly, the intent to remain in the host community is there, as the Power Authority completed a $135 million life extension and modernization effort for the Blenheim-Gilboa Pump Storage Project in May of 2010.”

The Assemblyman also sent copies of the letter to the governor, the two United States Senators from New York, area members of Congress, Senator Jim Seward, the commissioner of the state Office of General Services, the regional manager for the Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project, the public and governmental affairs manager for NYPA, the chairman of the Schoharie County board of supervisors, the chairman of the Delaware County board of supervisors and the chairman of the Greene County legislature.

“I have been advised that the first phase of the reauthorization process will begin very soon and last approximately two years,” Lopez said. “After that, federal law provides a six-month window for NYPA to submit the notice of intent to re-license the project. We must find a way to advance the flow of any potential re-licensing funds that may awarded by NYPA to our local communities as quickly as possible. The residents in my district impacted by these storms need help now. We can’t afford to wait.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here for a copy of Assemblyman Lopez’s letter to NYPA.