Buffalo, NY—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) addressed a luncheon of the League of Women Voters of Buffalo and Erie County, bringing to some of our region’s most active civic leaders his proposal to force the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to appropriately compensate Buffalo and Erie County for the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project.
“My proposal would bring NYPA hydropower dollars to Buffalo’s waterfront and adjacent brownfield and other lands, and would ensure that development decisions are made by local individuals committed to realistic projects that result in the design and construction of physical improvements along the Buffalo and Lake Erie shoreline,” said Higgins. “I 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.”
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is seeking a new federal license for the Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, NY. In so doing, NYPA has sought a so-called “consensus” re-licensing, where settlement offers are made to affected communities. Whereas the main host community of Niagara County was offered and accepted a settlement offer of $1.3 billion over the 50-year life of the license, Buffalo and Erie County were offered a paltry $2 million per year, without any inflationary protection, and without local authority power to direct use of the funds. Congressman Higgins has instead proposed a $10 million annual payment to the newly-created Buffalo Waterfront Development Corporation to be used exclusively for the design and construction of physical improvements along the Lake Erie shoreline.