The Business Council opposes this legislation that would create a new state-level process for review and approval of proposed electric generation facilities – in effect, replacing the Article X process that expired in 2002.
In doing so, the bill fails to appropriately address key components necessary for an efficient, effective siting law.
Specific reasons for our concern and opposition include the following:
- It fails to provide the certainty necessary in a new state-level siting process, by failing to assure decisions within twelve months of receipt of a complete application by the siting board, and failing to provide a permanent program (this legislation would expire in 2020).
- This bill fails to include an expedited review cycle of six months for repowered projects that result in significant air emission reductions. This provision has been included in a number of prior legislative proposals.
- Compared to the prior Article X process and prior legislative proposals, this bill significantly increases maximum intervenor funding that would be imposed on project sponsors, up to $450,000.
- It also goes beyond creation of a new administrative process to impose additional, more stringent air emission standards on new electric power generating facilities. Whether intended or not, these proposed standards will limit the fuel choices for new generating capacity in the state, with a resultant impact on the state’s fuel diversity. We also question the need for the legislating of new emission standards, given the Department of Environmental Conservation’s ongoing efforts to adopt new and lower air emission standards from most major emission categories, including power generation, as well as ongoing implementation of RGGI and the Governor’s Climate Action Plan. We strongly believe that a new siting law should establish procedural, not emission, standards.
- It significantly lowers the threshold for facilities that would be subject to this administrative process and intervenor funding mandate, from 80 MW (under the prior Article X law) to 20 MW, forcing smaller plants into this expensive process.
- It creates a more expansive environmental assessment than would be required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, and imposes significant new requirements on NYSERDA to assess the economics of a proposed facility.
Overall, this bill fails to provide the competitive, efficient review process needed to assure that New York can develop necessary new generating capacity in a timely fashion, and continue to attract private sector investments in the state’s energy sector.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes adoption of S.8394/A.11582.