The Business Council of New York State, Inc., whose membership includes over 3,600 companies and more than 100 chambers of commerce and professional trade associations, has reviewed the above mentioned legislation and supports its enactment.
The goal of this legislation is to extend the state's electric generating siting law from December 31, 2002 until December 31, 2007 with some improvements. The legislation also seeks to expedite the time frame for the siting of major electric generating facilities while maintaining provisions for public input and insuring proper environmental reviews. The Business Council supports these provisions.
Rather than proposing a wholesale change in the siting law, this bill focuses on improvements to certain areas of the current law and seeks to add provisions that would improve the process. In addressing these areas and adding certain new provisions, such as the inclusion of incentives for the redevelopment of brownfields, the bill strives to create a process conducive to siting much needed electrical generating infrastructure in New York State. The bill's other provisions are as follows;
- encourages of the redevelopment of brownfields,
- establishes a set time frame for the signing of stipulations by parties,
- creates a uniform format by requiring that legislative style hearings and issues conferences be conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations that are similar to or the equivalent of those of the Department of Environmental Conservation,
- establishes an eight month time frame for the board to issue a final decision on an application once its deemed complete,
- requires the siting board to render a final decision within sixty days of receipt of the complete record proceedings or the recommended decision from the presiding examiner (unless the applicant waives such deadline),
- excludes the introduction of evidence pertaining to speculative matters, and
- sets specific time lines for evidentiary hearings.
In New York State, the need for electricity generation to support economic growth and reliability has never been greater. In order 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 insures 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 New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), in a March 2002 report, stated that New York needs to add at least 7,100 megawatts of new power by 2005 - of which 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts must be located in New York City. Additionally, the NYISO claims that Long Island alone requires the immediate approval of 750 to 1,000 megawatts to alleviate severe reliability risks. In order to facilitate these market improvements the NYISO also urged the Legislature to renew the Article X siting law. The NYISO further stated that if any changes are made to the law they "should focus on shortening the approval time frame."
The Business Council, in a February 2002 assessment of the electricity markets, determined that at least 9,200 megawatts should be added to the markets by 2007 in order to insure reliability and the economic well being of New York. We also believe that in order to foster competition in the market, maintain reliability and lower wholesale electricity prices, the development of baseload generation should be encouraged. We concur with the assessments made by the NYISO that the renewal of the siting law would maintain the siting board's momentum.
For the reasons articulated above, The Business Council of New York State, Inc., supports S.6230-B/A.9826-A and respectfully requests its passage into law.