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Government Affairs Albany Update

April 9, 1999

Council Speaks Out Against Spending Binge

The Business Council issued a briefing paper on the need to avoid major spending increases this year. The paper says an above-inflation spending binge could bring back "the disaster years" of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when taxes were increased and the state lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. This is the start of a continuing Business Council effort to support spending restraint in the new state budget.

PSC Approves ConEd Acquisition of O&R - ConEd Names New O&R President

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the acquisition of Orange & Rockland Utilities (O&R) by Consolidated Edison (ConEd) which, according to the companies, will generate $218 million in savings over five years. The savings will be split 75%/25% between ratepayers and stockholders. While still subject to minor Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Justice Department review, the merger has been cleared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. O&R serves approximately 685,000 customers in southeastern New York, northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Following the PSC announcement, this week ConEd named Kevin Burke as future President of O&R effective upon the closing of the merger by both companies. Mr. Burke is currently Vice President of Customer Service for ConEd where he is responsible for overseeing the company's electric transmission and distribution systems and for customer service. A 25 year employee of ConEd, he has also served in the past as Vice President of Corporate Planning, Vice President of Brooklyn Customer Service and Vice President of Construction.

Pocantico Roundtable on Brownfields

A non-governmental effort to reach a consensus position on a New York State "brownfield" cleanup and redevelopment program has been underway since last summer. Coordinated by the New York City Partnership, the "Pocantico Roundtable" has produced a draft report that is now accessible to the public. Importantly, the report has not been finalized, and some key sections - including the section on program funding - are not yet done. Equally important, none of the Roundtable's twenty-five member organizations have yet endorsed this draft. Further negotiations - and redrafting - will take place over the next several weeks.

Initially set up to look at "brownfield" redevelopment issues, this "Roundtable" report also addresses liability and cleanup issues related to the state's superfund program and to the issue of hazardous substance sites.

If you would like to review this "work-in-progress," it will be available on our Environment Committee web page. Look for the document entitled "Pocantico Report."

Contact Ken Pokalsky for more information.