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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

June 5, 2002

Council testifies in support of Wright-Tonko bill to extend, improve plant-siting law

New York should act in the current legislative session to extend and improve the law governing how the state sites new electricity-generating plants, The Council said in legislative testimony this week.

The Council submitted testimony for the record in a June 5 hearing sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), chair of the Assembly Energy Committees.

Article X of the state's Public Service Law, which describes how New York reviews proposed new power plants, is due to expire in December. In its testimony, The Council urged the state Legislature to act in the current session to extend the law for five years, streamline the review process, and avoid new statutory obstacles to plant-siting.

The Council commended Assemblyman Tonko and Sen. James Wright (R-Watertown), who are sponsoring the bill (S.6230-A/A.9826) that would enact these reforms. The testimony also noted that the same bill is also endorsed by the state AFL-CIO, the Independent Power Producers of New York State., Inc. (IPPNY), and the Energy Association.

The bill would:

"In New York State, the need for electricity generation to support economic growth and reliability has never been greater," the testimony said. "To foster growth and encourage economic well being, New York needs to send the proper signals to the marketplace.

"A reauthorization of the siting law that ensures a clear process and definite time frames, while maintaining public participation and environmental safeguards, is needed in order to encourage development in this crucial area of New York's economy."

The testimony cited a recent study by The Public Policy Institute, The Council's research affiliate, showing that New York must add at least 9,200 megawatts in the next five years to engender growth, sustain reliability, and foster competition to drive energy prices down. New York's Independent System Operator (ISO), which has also urged renewal of New York's siting laws and accelerating the plant siting process, conducted a similar study which reached a virtually identical conclusion.