MASSENA – Local government officials and state government representatives joined New York Power Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Kessel at a ceremony today marking the signing of an historic agreement to provide some of the most significant economic development benefits to the region in recent history.
The agreement calls for the Power Authority to provide $16 million and 20 megawatts of low-cost hydropower for economic development purposes throughout St. Lawrence County, in return for agreeing to recertification of the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project and the Moses-Saunders Power Dam on the St. Lawrence River.
“This is a transformational agreement that will be the catalyst for the economic renaissance of Northern New York,” Kessel said. “The Power Authority is committed to using its resources to be a driving force in the revitalization of St. Lawrence County and the signing of this agreement today demonstrates how cooperation among the communities and NYPA can lead to an historic long-term investment in the future of the region.”
Some of the public officials attending were State Senators Darryl Aubertine and Joseph Griffo, State Assemblymembers Addie Russell and Deirdre Scozzafava, County Treasurer Robert McNeil who is also Local Government Task Force chair, Waddington Mayor Janet Cassada, Waddington Town Supervisor Mark Scott, Town of Massena Supervisor Joe Gray, Town of Louisville Supervisor Larry Lagault, and Town of Lisbon Supervisor Jim Armstrong.
Eugene L. Nicandri, NYPA Trustee and resident of Massena, said, “Today, the New York Power Authority has followed through on a commitment made during the relicensing of its St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project to provide economic development support to its host communities in St. Lawrence County. I commend the officials throughout St. Lawrence County who worked diligently on behalf of their constituents in reaching this accord, which will mark a crucial step forward in efforts to employ NYPA’s resources to support the revitalization of the North Country.”
Last week, the NYPA Board of Trustees unanimously authorized NYPA to enter into an agreement with the newly created St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency and the St. Lawrence Industrial Development Agency Local Development Corporation that allows for the transfer of $16 million originally committed in 2001 by the Power Authority to the region during the relicensing process. The funds had been undisbursed due to the cancellation in 2005 of a local aquarium project.
Robert McNeil said, "This is the conclusion of a nearly ten-year effort by the Local Government Task Force to ensure fairness and equity in the St. Lawrence-FDR relicensing agreement. The economic development funding and low-cost hydropower generated by our river and this agreement will give us the tools to build the economy of the future for the North Country. I'm proud of our collective efforts and want to thank the state and local officials who supported us and Richie Kessel for agreeing to this historic accord."