Congressman Brian Higgins

Representing the 26th District of NEW YORK
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Higgins Applauds Governor's Approval of NYPA Proceeds Bill

Aug 31, 2010
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) hailed Governor Paterson’s decision to sign legislation that will ensure more profits from the Niagara Power Project stay here in Western New York.  The State legislation A8712  is similar to Higgins’ federal bill HR 2133 (introduced April 23, 2009), both of which require Replacement and Expansion Power profits generated by this community be reinvested into this region. 

Congressman Higgins said, “The Niagara Power Project was intended to provide a direct benefit to this community.  In signing this bill, the Governor has righted a historic wrong and given back one of this region’s most valuable tools for economic and job growth.  Florida benefits economically from an abundance of sunshine, California profits from its ocean views and surf and Western New York should also benefit from our natural resources.”

The Replacement and Expansion Power programs require low cost power be distributed to companies within 30 miles of the Niagara Power Project.  Western New York is allocated 695 megawatts of electricity annually under the Replacement Power and Expansion Power programs; yet a portion remains unused, leaving the Power Authority to monetize -- sell -- the remainder for its own benefit.

“Today, with this legislation, we continue to take back what is naturally and rightfully ours,” said Congressman Higgins. “Our lake that fuels the river that feeds Niagara Falls produces significant benefits including the cleanest, cheapest hydropower in the United States.  Our success in staking this claim means millions of dollars once diverted to other parts of the state and country will again be flowing back into WNY where it belongs.”

In 2008, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) had a surplus of $309 million, over 75% of which is directly attributable to the Niagara Power Project here in Western New York.    At the same time, NYPA’s own study found that only 14% of the economic benefit from the Niagara Power project actually remains in this region.



Timeline:
April 23, 2009: Congressman Higgins announces plan for federal legislation to keep power profits in WNY
April 23, 2009:  The Erie County Legislature approves a resolution supporting Higgins’ effort
April 28, 2009: Congressman Higgins introduces HR2133
June 4, 2009: The NYS Assembly and Senate introduces similar legislation
September 1, 2009: Local Business Leaders join call for bill passage
June 16, 2010:  Bill passes in Assembly
June 25, 2010: Bill passes in Senate
June 28, 2010: Congressman Higgins sends letter to the Governor urging him to sign the bill
August 25, 2010: Local business leaders join Congressman in urging the Governor to sign
August 30, 2010:  Legislation is signed by Governor Paterson
 

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