The author, Stephen E. Herrmann of this opinion viewpoint, was a former Special Assistant to the General Counsel of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He is part of the law firm Richards, Layton & Finger. His bio states that he has 30 years’ experience in advising boards of directors on corporate governance issues.
From the offset, it should be emphasized that sound energy policy must be based upon actual need, effective cost, efficient generation and balanced environmental protection. Mr. Herrmann’s revealing admission that Article X’s true purpose is to override local zoning and land use authority is clearly stated, “new law hopefully will create a one-stop siting decision-maker”. The elimination of SEQRA compliance and discarding the principled legal standard of Home Rule, has been a main objective of foreign developers, as they rush to site ill-conceived projects, especially over the strong objections of local community representatives.
Absent in Mr. Herrmann’s advocacy for corporate interests is that the two local residents to the new board do not have a vote in the decision and that the five permanent members are NYS bureaucrat appointees that have no accountability to the general public, much less the residents where the project will be fast tracked.
The insignificant amounts for “intervener funding” and limited time for filing, actually creates a major profit center savings for single-minded developers. With a 25 megawatts trigger for jurisdiction, the conclusive result is that siting can and will be forced upon any location that benefits the developer.
In addition, absent in his analysis is that objecting groups or municipalities are prohibited from litigating decisions under Article X in NYS court. So much for representative government under the corporate governance scheme that Mr. Herrmann favors.
The Power NY Act of 2011 is a windfall for industrial wind factories that have a destructive environmental record that fails to generate useful and reliable electricity, while needing obscene public subsidies for development.
At a recent public forum, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, a sponsor of Article X, stated that local zoning and comprehensive plans, if deemed to be unreasonable or onerous, by the New York State Board on Electric Generating Siting and the Environment, can be superseded by Albany.
The *Citizen Power Alliance strongly condemns the current version of Article X. The only applause for this one sided legislation, comes from companies and proponents that want more central planning, at the expense of local government. Level-headed environmentalism does not reside in the legal firms that ignore the factual reality that crony capitalism is bad for every taxpayer.
James Hall for CPA
*The Citizen Power Alliance is a coalition of independent groups organized to promote sound energy and environmental policy. CPA holds public officials and regulators accountable, while seeking the protection of the public interest.
Read the original article – NEW YORK’S POWER PLANT SITING SOLUTION