NYPA Seeks Federal Approval of Alternative
Licensing Approach for Niagara Project: Goal is to Ensure Early Public
Participation in Process
March 8, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEWISTONThe New York Power Authority (NYPA) has asked the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve an alternative approach to the relicensing of the
Niagara hydroelectric project here that will allow interested parties to participate in
the process from the beginning.
"Traditionally, community leaders and other individuals and groups
havent had opportunities for involvement in the licensing process until after
hydroelectric operators have submitted their license applications to FERC," said
Louis P. Ciminelli, NYPA acting chairman. "The alternative licensing approach will
solicit their input starting with the pre-application phase, ensuring that the application
reflects the concerns and priorities of the various stakeholders. That should also speed
things along once the application is completed and subject to FERC review."
NYPA noted in its March 6 filing with FERC that it has engaged in an "extensive
outreach effort" over the past six months with various parties that may have an
interest in Niagaras relicensing, including federal and state resource agencies, the
Tuscarora Nation, the projects industrial and municipal customers, federal, state
and local officials and other organized local groups.
Niagaras current 50-year license expires in 2007. The project is the largest
generator of electricity in New York State, providing some of the lowest cost electricity
in the country. Its power is linked to approximately 50,000 jobs at more than 100
businesses in Niagara, Erie and Chautauqua counties.
"The Power Authoritys proposal will improve communications among all
interested parties in the relicensing process," said U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds.
"It is my opinion that the Alternative Licensing Procedures can only benefit our
"The alternative procedures may lead to more up-front work, but the rewards make
it worth the effort. It should assure that all stakeholders in Niagaras relicensing
have a chance for their voices to be heard during the formative stages of the
process," said U.S. Rep. John LaFalce.
"Niagaras relicensing is an important subject to Western New Yorkers,"
said State Senator George Maziarz. "It cuts across numerous issues, including the
economy, the environment and recreation. Thats why Im pleased that the Power
Authority is planning a relicensing approach that will provide for the active involvement
of numerous leaders from our community."
"The Power Authority has gotten off to a good start in Niagaras relicensing
with its procedural filing this week with FERC," said Assemblywoman Francine
DelMonte. "It demonstrates NYPAs strong commitment to develop a relicensing
application that accurately reflects the issues that are most important to Western New
"The pre-application phase is probably the most critical period of the
relicensing, because its when the various issues are identified and fully fleshed
out," said Mark Zito, president, Niagara Power Coalition. "The fact that NYPA is
seeking approval for a process that will enhance public involvement is a promising start
that I hope well be able to build on in the months ahead."
"Im delighted that the Power Authority is planning to use alternative
licensing procedures instead of a traditional, less inclusive approach," said Steve
Richards, supervisor, Town of Niagara. "The consensus that is likely to emerge from
the alternative process will help assure that the final license application treats the
various issues in a comprehensive and fair manner."
"NYPA is on the right track in planning for the alternative licensing
approach," said Sandra Maslen, supervisor, Town of Lewiston. "It will help
guarantee that the local communities are empowered through the course of the relicensing
and that our interests are well served."
"The size and scope of the Niagara project means that the relicensing is going to
garner the attention of a long list of stakeholders," said Andrew J. Rudnick,
president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. "We feel an open process that
fosters communication between NYPA and the stakeholders affords the best opportunity for
fair resolution to many of the issues that will undoubtedly be raised during the
"Im hopeful that FERC will act quickly in approving the alternative
licensing process," said Samuel M. Ferraro, co-chair of the Western New York
Relicensing Consensus Committee. "Its the right approach for addressing issues
and affording stakeholders and interested parties an opportunity to participate in
"We enthusiastically embrace the Power Authoritys decision to pursue the
alternative relicensing process for its Niagara Project," said Phil Wilcox,
secretary, Western New York AFL-CIO Economic Development Group. "The alternative
process affords the best opportunity for inclusion of the communitys thoughts in a
final license application, and underscores the Power Authoritys commitment to the
residents of the Niagara Region."
"A project of the size and significance as Niagara should be accorded special
treatment, so I applaud the Power Authoritys decision to pursue the alternative
licensing strategy," said Kevin J. Clarke, chairman, Power For Economic Prosperity.
"It means that the projects industrial customers and other area groups will
have a real opportunity to influence the course of the relicensing."
The Power Authority noted in its FERC filing that work is under way to develop an
initial information package for distribution to relicensing stakeholders by late 2002 or
early 2003. Referred to as a First Stage Consultation Report, the package will be
accompanied by an initial information meeting that together will mark the formal start of
the alternative licensing process. The Power Authority is the largest state-owned public
power organization in the country, with hydroelectric and fossil-fueled generating
facilities around the state and more than 1,400 circuit miles of transmission lines.