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On-line petition effort begins to urge governor for more equitable NYPA contract

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MASSENA - Count the Massena Central School District among the entities that are urging residents to sign a petition requesting the governor’s assistance in assuring a fair and equitable revised agreement with the New York Power Authority.

The St. Lawrence County Local Government Task Force has launched the online effort in a hope to negotiate a more equitable power contract with NYPA.

The Massena Central School District is a member of the task force that is currently in negotiations with NYPA for a relicensing agreement.

Massena Central School Interim Superintendent William H. Flynn said they were asked by Task Force Chairman and Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray to take part in the petition effort and have posted a link on their website.

“The request was generated by the town to get on board with this. We essentially are just like the conduit,” Mr. Flynn said.

Other entities including towns and schools who are members of the task force were also asked to take part in the petition effort, he said.

“Essentially we just want to make sure that the Massena School District is included when considering the settlement,” Mr. Flynn said.

Mr. Gray said they were simply looking for support for their efforts to negotiate a more equitable deal with NYPA.

“The Local Government Task Force decided a few weeks ago that we would reach out to the public to make sure they understand the task force position and to secure their support for our efforts,” he said.

Mr. Gray said there has been an “overriding concern” on the task force that any licensing review would consider a more equitable settlement, and the online petition allows others to share that sentiment

They’re asking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to make sure the affected municipalities and schools receive fair treatment for hosting the power authority’s St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project.

The 2003 The St. Lawrence-FDR relicensing agreement gave the towns of Lisbon, Waddington, Louisville and Massena, their school districts and St. Lawrence County a total of $115 million. NYPA also agreed to pay $116 million for recreational and environmental improvements and to transfer property within the project boundary back to adjoining landowners. The land transfer later was deemed unconstitutional because a public entity cannot legally transfer property to private parties for less than fair market value.

Every 10 years after the relicensing, NYPA is required to review the terms of the agreement with the task force. Members of the task force have argued that the deal reached with NYPA was greatly lacking compared to a similar deal NYPA struck with Western New York under the Niagara relicensing settlement.

The petition can be found and signed at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/equity-for-st-lawrence-county

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