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November 19, 2001

Council seeks intervenor status in two
more power-plant applications

The Business Council is seeking status as an "intervenor" in two more power-plant application cases pending before the state Siting Board.

The Council will seek this status in an application by Wawayanda Energy Center to site a 540-megawatt natural gas-fired plant in Orange County, and in an application by Astoria Generating Company to site a 1,842-megawatt natural gas-fired plant in Queens.

The Council is seeking to join these proceedings to advance broad economic arguments about the need for adding electricity-generating capacity in New York State to ensure the continued reliability of New York's electricity system, and foster the competition needed to drive down New York's electricity costs.

If this request is granted, The Council will become an official party in proceedings as the Siting Board considers whether to approve the proposals to site more power plants.

Earlier this year, The Council sought and received intervenor status in two other cases: Brookhaven Energy's proposal for a 580-megawatt plant in Suffolk County, and PSEG Power New York's proposal for a 750-megawatt plant in Bethlehem.

Since then, The Public Policy Institute of New York State, The Council's research affiliate, has published a report on the economic arguments on increasing capacity in New York, and submitted it as part of testimony in the Bethlehem case. (The full report)

Historically, most intervenors in power-plant siting cases have been local parties advancing mainly local issues about the effects of proposed plants on such issues as temporary and long-term employment, tax-base enhancement, and environmental effects.

Until The Council did so this year, no organization has intervened to advance broad arguments about statewide issues and the economics-based case for increasing generating capacity, said Johnny Evers, The Business Council's legislative analyst specializing in energy.

Article X of the state Public Service Law, which outlines how the state will approve or reject proposals to build new plants, allows interested parties to seek status as "intevenors." Intervenors become official parties in the Article X hearing process, and can submit testimony, analysis, and research in support of, or in opposition to, the proposed plants.

Under the Public Service Law, companies proposing power plants are required to provide up to $300,000 to support the research and advocacy of intervenors. However, The Council has not applied for these funds.