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NY Legislature passes power proceeds bill, Cuomo to sign

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ALBANY — The state Senate has approved legislation allowing the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency to sell the unused portion of its low-cost power allocation and use the proceeds to spur economic growth in St. Lawrence County. A companion measure passed the Assembly Thursday.

Under the deal, the Massena Electric Department can sell on the open market any portion of the River Agency’s 20 megawatts that is not allocated to aid businesses. The sale of power is expected to amount to about $2 million annually.

The River Agency received the power and $16 million from the New York Power Authority in 2010, in part, to offset what officials have called inequities between NYPA’s relicensing settlements to operate the St. Lawrence-FDR power dam in Massena and the Niagara power project in Western New York. The power is produced at the Massena dam and had been sold to out-of-state entities before the 2003 relicensing.

The proceeds from the power’s sale will be managed by a five-member North Country Power Allocation Board to be appointed by the governor. Three of its members must reside in St. Lawrence County.

The power proceeds will fund a grant program for businesses, and the board, in consultation with the River Agency and the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, will recommend which enterprises receive grants based in part on capital investments and job creation, according to a news release from Gov. Cuomo’s office. NYPA and the state’s Empire State Development Corp. will give final approval for awards.

The legislation is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

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