During his annual budget address, Governor Cuomo expressed concern over the slow speed of the Article 10 power plant siting process. He proposed modifications to site more projects more quickly.
Specifically, the Governor noted, “We have to do it faster. It currently takes five to 10 years to begin constructing a new energy project. You can’t have the goals we have and then have a system of bureaucracy that takes five to 10 years to start a new energy project. It just does not work.” More information about the Governor Cuomo’s comments is here.
In response to the Governor’s comments, I would respectfully point out that Article 10 is not the only reason it takes 5-10 years to build power plants in New York. Developers spend much of that time acquiring land rights before the Article 10 process even starts. Changes to Article 10 would have no impact on reducing the years of land-leasing that occurs on the front end of any project. In addition, applicants control the duration of pre-application negotiations, a significant source of delay in many Article 10 proceedings.
I also take personal exception to the idea that Article 10 is not working. There are currently about 40 major projects under consideration. In just the past year Baron Wind, Eight Point Wind, Number Three Wind, and Bluestone Wind have been approved. Other projects such as Canisteo Wind and Alle-Catt are hot on their heels. So far, the Siting Board has not denied a single application.
Having gained substantial first-hand experience with the Article 10 siting process, I am well aware of its flaws. But the slow-pace of the proceedings is not one of them. If anything, additional time is needed to develop a complete record relating to the many local environmental and economic impacts associated with large-scale renewable energy development.
It may be time for New Yorkers to consider arguing Article 10 should not be changed. In its current form the law at least provides funding for parties to participate and create a record for judicial appeal. I would argue that this is good enough to serve the purposes of municipalities and intervenor parties who want to take a hard look at environmental impacts.
For inquiries about the process for siting large power plants pursuant to Article 10 of the New York State Public Service Law, please contact Benjamin E. Wisniewski. The Zoghlin Group represents individuals, public interest groups, and municipalities in Article 10 proceedings throughout New York State.
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