Calls for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to Tour Buffalo Waterfront
Buffalo, NY—Today Congressman Higgins responded to the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) submission of a new application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its Niagara Power Project by stating that while supportive of all other agreements reached between NYPA and stakeholders, he is dismayed that the settlement isolates Buffalo and Erie County and denies Buffalo its due funding for direct local impacts on the waterfront, part of the Niagara River basin. Higgins calls for FERC officials to come to Buffalo and survey the waterfront to see for themselves the environmental damage and lost recreational opportunity caused by the Niagara Power Project, which must be addressed through relicensing.
“We will continue to fight for Western New York to get its fair share until FERC issues a new license in 2007. It is unfortunate that NYPA has used a divide and conquer strategy to deny Buffalo the funding it is owed for comprehensive development of the Niagara River basin as required under federal law,” said Higgins.
“After a thorough review of NYPA’s application, I will work with the hundreds of citizens, elected officials and community leaders who have joined with me at this critical moment, to ensure that Buffalo gets a fair and just settlement.”
NYPA’s original and only offer to Buffalo and Erie County was a “take it or leave it” offer of $2 million annually for fifty years. That offer was unanimously rejected by the Buffalo Common Council and Erie County Legislature. The Higgins proposal calls for a larger settlement from the proceeds of a plant that generates an annual net profit of $537.6 Million. Higgins’ proposal would direct $10 million annually, compounded at a 3% interest rate to keep pace with the sales price of energy, to Governor Pataki’s newly created Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation for the design and construction of waterfront projects. These projects would directly mitigate the impacts of the Niagara Power Project along the Buffalo waterfront and will create real jobs for real people.
Higgins said, “We are prepared to negotiate and we are willing to settle. However, Western New York will no longer settle for less.”