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Negotiations halted between St. Lawrence Government Task Force and NYPA

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MASSENA — The New York Power Authority on Tuesday abruptly halted its 10-year review of the 2003 relicensing settlement to operate its St. Lawrence-FDR hydropower dam in Massena after the St. Lawrence Local Government Task Force unanimously rejected NYPA’s final proposal.

Task Force members stated in a news release Thursday that the final offer included no new monetary compensation for the host communities and was a mixture of recently completed items such as the North Country Power Proceeds Act, St. Regis Mohawk land claim deal and an offer for an economic development study that has been a “long-standing” request by the St. Lawrence River Redevelopment Agency.

“NYPA refused to increase its support for the St. Lawrence County host communities despite the fact that each year the power giant gives western New York host communities monies and benefits nearly seven times greater than the financial support it affords St. Lawrence,” the news release said. “There is clearly a double standard in how NYPA treats the two host communities.”

“I was present in 2002 when the Authority agreed to review the settlement agreement every 10 years,” Louisville Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault said in the release. “The Authority explicitly agreed to address any inequities that might result if the benefits afforded St. Lawrence County did not compare with the local benefits provided by other NYPA projects. I expected better from NYPA; all we heard were excuses,” Louisville Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault said in the news release.

Shortly after the $115 million settlement was reached with St. Lawrence communities in 2003, NYPA forged two deals totaling $973 million with the city of Buffalo as well as Erie and Niagara counties for a 50-year license to operate the Niagara power project in Lewiston.

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