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October 14, 1999

Senate passes power-plant siting bill

The state Senate has passed a bill to clarify and streamline how New York approves proposed new power plants.

Governor Pataki has said he will sign the bill, which the Assembly had already passed.

The Business Council strongly supported the bill, which closes a gap in a 1992 law that was first passed to facilitate the power-plant siting process.

The 1992 law was designed to create "one-stop shopping" for entities seeking approval for new power plants. It created a siting board with representatives of key state agencies, but the board lacked authority to issue required permits because the state did not ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for that authority.

The new bill, which gives both the board and the state Department of Environmental Conservation that authority, should help expedite 12 pending proposals to build and re-power electricity generating facilities.

No new major power plants have been built in New York in more than five years despite increasing records in peak demand. Significant growth in new demand for electricity is expected in the next few years.