Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:08 am
By Matt Surtel firstname.lastname@example.org
WARSAW — The Wyoming County Board of Supervisors has approved a resolution opposing the Power NY Act. The bill gives the state increased authority to site power plants and streamlines the siting process. It was signed into law two months ago. Supervisors approved the resolution expressing “deep disappointment and concern” over the law during their Oct. 11 meeting.
“This is in opposition to the state of New York being the last approving agency to decide which green energy projects go where in New York state, particularly in the towns and counties,” said Chairman Douglas Berwanger. The Power NY Act includes a section re-authorizing Article X of the state’s Public Service law. The original Article X had expired about a decade ago, allowing local governments to assume jurisdiction over power plant siting issues. Albany now has the authority to site electricity-generating projects of 25 megawatts or more. Construction and operating certifications can also be issued more-quickly. Large-scale commercial wind farms fall under the new rules.
Wyoming County’s resolution argues the Power NY Act puts the authority into the hands of a bureaucratic state board with only nominal input from affected communities. It also maintains the new legislation is part of a disturbing trend removing powers from local jurisdictions and transferring them to a faceless bureaucracy with no jurisdiction.
The Power NY Act was approved overwhelmingly this past June. Tallies included 117-13 in the State Assembly and 59-3 in the State Senate.
But the law met resistance from some local legislators. Assemblyman Daniel Burling, R-Warsaw and State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Clarence were among those voting no. “We needed to take a stand and let people know where we are as far as Article X is,” Berwanger said after the meeting. “We’ve got some enthusiastic supporters and detractors as far as any kind of energy development systems in the county.”