Power Authority to resume talks with St. Lawrence River towns on compensation for power project
Friday, July 11, 2014 - 5:43 pm

The New York Power Authority will be resuming talks with St. Lawrence County towns over compensation for land and segments of communities during development of the hydropower project on the St. Lawrence River, according to State Senators Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) and Joe Griffo (R. Rome).

The senators had urged NYPA to return to the talks with members of the St. Lawrence County Local Government Task Force, comprising representatives of the affected communities. The SLCLGTF and NYPA had been trying to settle a relicensing deal that expired in 2012 when talks broke down two weeks ago.

At issue is the amount of compensation – in dollars and in megawatts of power for their use – the communities expected from the negotiations during relicensing of the massive power project.

“I’m pleased that the Power Authority has agreed to continue discussions with the communities on finding a more fair way to compensate them for the continuing deep impact of the power dam,” said Ritchie, whose district covers the western half of St. Lawrence County including Ogdensburg, Canton and Gouverneur.

“I want to thank NYPA’s CEO, Gil Quinones, for listening to the voices of North Country residents and their representatives and continuing to work toward an acceptable deal for both sides,” she said.

“The North Country sacrificed land, economic opportunity and tax revenues to play host to the power dam, and they only seek to be treated fairly,” said Griffo, whose district includes the St. Lawrence County towns of Massena, Brasher, Norfolk, Stockholm, Potsdam, Pierrepont, Russell, Clifton, Fine, and Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County, plus Lewis and Oneida counties. “Resuming these talks is a positive sign for the communities and for the region.”

Local government leaders and the Power Authority have been conducting a 10-year review of the Massena dam’s 2002 relicensing agreement.

Critics say that deal shortchanged the North Country, compared to a similar relicensing pact between NYPA and Western New York communities located near the utility’s Niagara Project facility, and the differences have cost local communities here millions of dollars.