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Task Force says NYPA failed to keep its agreement

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WADDINGTON - The Local Government Task Force Chairman says the New York Power Authority has not upheld its 2003 relicensing settlement agreement when it agreed to build the St. Lawrence-FDR Power project in Massena.

The 2003 relicensing settlement provided benefits to the communities surrounding the 63-year-old power project, including $16 million and 20 megawatts of hydropower, in lieu of the losses in taxable land.

Local Government Task Force members claim that the Power Authority has not kept its end of the bargain according to the 2003 relicensing settlement agreement which outlined several community projects and the sale of surplus land to municipalities and residents in the project boundary.

“There are provisions in all four towns that have not been completed,” Chairman Joseph D. Gray said. “Some are in evidence of being in the works while others are not. This needs to be addressed. We plan to bring it up in the 10-year review before the end of the year.”

Several public entities are attached to the project, including the town and village of Massena, the town and village of Waddington, the town of Louisville, St. Lawrence County and the Massena and Madrid-Waddington school districts.

Mr. Gray said one of the projects yet to be completed is an access road to Wilson Hill, Louisville.

“Wilson Hill is a causeway and a second emergency access to Wilson Hill Island,” he said. “There is only one highway access route to it.”

Mr. Wilson said the Wildlife Refuge is also yet to be completed on the hill.

Donald Lucas, who owns Muskie Magic in Massena, said he offered to purchase surplus land at full market value to develop commercial dockage along the St. Lawrence River, but his request was denied by the Power Authority.

“We were told by the Power Authority that land would be sold to residents for commercial development, but that hasn’t happened,” Mr. Lucas said during the public comment session.

Mark Scott, town supervisor in Waddington, said the task force will make provisions in its revised agreement for commercial dockage.

The town of Lisbon, which signed itself out of the project boundary several years ago in exchange for surplus land, said the Power Authority has not yet returned land, including Galop Island, which takes up about five miles in the St. Lawrence River.

Mr. Gray said more uncompleted projects will be outlined in the future.

“We have not finalized the list completely,” he said Wednesday. “We took another major step forward to doing that tonight. While everyone wants to know it is not in the communities’ best interesting to the public to the public right now to know.”

Mr. Gray said he hopes to have the finalized list of conditions completed by next month.

“We have not yet corresponded with the Power Authority,” Mr. Gray. “In the next week a letter will be sent to them. We’ll be ready for discussion.”

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