Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) called on Governor George Pataki to stop robbing Western New Yorkers of fair access to hydropower while paying millions of dollars in land claim settlement payouts from the State’s NYPA off-budget “slush fund.”
“Governor Pataki and his minions at the New York Power Authority seek to feather the nest of other parts of the state at the expense of Western New York,” said Congressman Higgins. “We have a unique commodity in the form of access to inexpensive hydropower. Rather than provide it to job creating businesses in Western New York, the Governor sells it to out of state entities, and sells out Western New Yorkers in the process.”
Last week Governor Pataki made a settlement of the Mohawk Indian land claim between New York State and the Akwesasne Mohawks Part of the settlement provided that NYPA will pay to the Akwesasne Mohawks $70 million over 35 years, beginning 90 days after the effective date of the settlement.
“While the Akwesasne Mohawks most certainly deserve recompense, the Governor should not use the NYPA hydropower profits as his personal spending account for these settlements, and watch as Western New York continues to suffer,” said Congressman Higgins. “This Governor continuously siphons any possible benefit Western New York can gain from cheap hydropower. Who knew that the profit from our power would be used by Governor Pataki as an off-budget slush fund to meet the public policy objectives in other parts of New York? Once again the residents of Western New York are being robbed.”