Relates to intervenor funds for proceedings relating to siting of major utility transmission facilities.
Ayes (21): Smith, Espada, Stachowski, Montgomery, Duane, Hassell-Thompson, Krueger, Parker, Serrano, Stewart-Cousins, Dilan, Klein, Valesky, Monserrate, Skelos, Padavan, Farley, Seward, Hannon, Larkin, Saland
Ayes W/R (2): Volker, LaValle
Excused (1): Johnson O
BILL NUMBER: S1599A
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the public service law, in relation to intervenor funds for proceedings relating to siting of major utility transmission facilities; and to amend the state finance law, in relation to intervenor accounts
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : To make funds available to help municipalities, citizens and community groups intervene in proposed electric transmission projects.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : For every proposed electric transmission project in New York State, there shall be intervenor funds available to affected and interested parties. Each application shall be accompanied by a fee based upon the size and length of the proposed project, up to $450,000.
Such expenses shall include costs associated with expert witnesses, consultants, administrative and legal fees. The fund is established in the joint custody of the state comptroller and the commissioner of taxation and finance an account to be known as the intervenor account. Such account shall consist of all revenues received from siting application fees for electric major utility transmission facilities pursuant to section one hundred twenty-two of the public service law. Moneys of the account, following appropriation by the legislature, may be expended in accordance with the provisions of section one hundred twenty two of the public service law. Moneys shall be paid out of the account on the audit and warrant of the state comptroller on vouchers certified or approved by the chair of the public service commission.
JUSTIFICATION : Due to the deregulation of the electric industry, critical reforms to the Article VII process are necessary. Merchant electric transmission developers are taking advantage of the restructured market-place. This bill would provide host communities with the resources necessary to make their voices heard in a complex process. These reforms will improve the process for host communities and municipalities, many of which are strapped for cash and are currently unable to hire the experts necessary to intervene effectively.
Currently, communities that want to affect the siting process in their area have to raise the money themselves to have a strong voice in the regulatory process. Today, the communities that intervene in the process that sites power plants have had access to this kind of resource. This bill would level the playing field so that all communities have a voice in energy policy decisions that could impact their lives.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2008: A.9348-A - Passed Assembly; died in Senate Rules Committee 2007: A.9348 - Referred to Assembly Energy Committee 2006: A.12091- Referred to Assembly Energy Committee
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None to State.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately; provided that nothing in this act shall be construed to limit any administrative authority, with respect to matters included in this act, which existed prior to the effective date of this act.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1599--A 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 3, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sens. VALESKY, BONACIC -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Tele- communications -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to intervenor funds for proceedings relating to siting of major utility transmission facilities; and to amend the state finance law, in relation to intervenor accounts THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 122 of the public service law is amended by adding a new subdivision 5 to read as follows: 5. (A) FOR EVERY APPLICATION DEEMED COMPLETE BY THE COMMISSION AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION, EACH APPLICATION SHALL BE ACCOM- PANIED BY A FEE IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO: FOR ELECTRIC MAJOR UTILITY TRANS- MISSION FACILITIES OF ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE KILOVOLTS OR MORE EXTEND- ING A DISTANCE OF OVER ONE HUNDRED MILES, FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS; FOR ELECTRIC MAJOR UTILITY TRANSMISSION FACILITIES OF ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE KILOVOLTS OR MORE EXTENDING A DISTANCE OF OVER FIFTY MILES TO ONE HUNDRED MILES, THREE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS; FOR ELECTRIC MAJOR UTILITY TRANSMISSION FACILITIES, REQUIRING A NEW RIGHT OF WAY AND ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE KILOVOLTS OR MORE EXTENDING A DISTANCE OF TEN MILES TO FIFTY MILES, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS; FOR ELECTRIC MAJOR UTILITY TRANSMISSION FACILITIES UTILIZING AN EXISTING RIGHT OF WAY AND ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE KILOVOLTS OR MORE EXTENDING A DISTANCE OF TEN MILES TO FIFTY MILES, FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. ALL SUCH FEES SHALL BE DEPOSITED IN THE INTERVENOR ACCOUNT, ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECTION NINETY-SEVEN-TT OF THE STATE FINANCE LAW, TO BE DISBURSED AT THE COMMIS- SION'S DIRECTION, TO DEFRAY EXPENSES INCURRED BY MUNICIPAL AND OTHER PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDING (EXCEPT A MUNICIPALITY WHICH IS THE APPLICANT) FOR EXPERT WITNESS, CONSULTANT, ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGAL FEES, PROVIDED,EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03778-03-9 S. 1599--A 2
HOWEVER, SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW. IF AT ANY TIME SUBSEQUENT TO THE FILING OF THE APPLICATION, THE APPLICATION IS AMENDED IN A MANNER THAT WARRANTS SUBSTANTIAL ADDITIONAL SCRUTINY, THE COMMISSION MAY REQUIRE AN ADDITIONAL INTERVENOR FEE IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. THE COMMISSION SHALL PROVIDE FOR TRANSCRIPTS, THE REPRODUCTION AND SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS, AND THE PUBLICATION OF REQUIRED NOTICES, FOR MUNICIPAL AND OTHER LOCAL PARTIES, IN ALL APPROPRIATE LANGUAGES. ANY MONEYS REMAINING IN THE INTERVENOR ACCOUNT AFTER THE COMMISSION'S JURISDICTION OVER AN APPLICA- TION HAS CEASED SHALL BE RETURNED TO THE APPLICANT. (B) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, THE COMMISSION SHALL PROVIDE BY RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE INTERVENOR ACCOUNT AND FOR DISBURSEMENTS FROM THE ACCOUNT, WHICH RULES AND REGULATIONS SHALL BE CONSISTENT WITH THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION TO MAKE AVAILABLE TO MUNICIPAL PARTIES AT LEAST ONE-HALF OF THE AMOUNT OF THE INTERVENOR ACCOUNT AND FOR USES SPECIFIED IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION. IN ADDITION, THE COMMISSION SHALL PROVIDE OTHER PARTIES UP TO ONE-HALF OF THE AMOUNT OF THE INTERVENOR ACCOUNT, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE COMMISSION SHALL ASSURE THAT THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH MONEYS IN THE INTERVENOR ACCOUNT WILL BE EXPENDED WILL CONTRIBUTE TO AN INFORMED DECISION AS TO THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE SITE AND FACILITY AND ARE MADE AVAILABLE ON AN EQUITABLE BASIS IN A MANNER WHICH FACILITATES BROAD PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. S 2. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 97-tt to read as follows: S 97-TT. INTERVENOR ACCOUNT. 1. THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED IN THE JOINT CUSTODY OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER AND THE COMMISSIONER OF TAXATION AND FINANCE AN ACCOUNT TO BE KNOWN AS THE INTERVENOR ACCOUNT. 2. SUCH ACCOUNT SHALL CONSIST OF ALL REVENUES RECEIVED FROM SITING APPLICATION FEES FOR ELECTRIC MAJOR UTILITY TRANSMISSION FACILITIES PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-TWO OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE LAW. 3. MONEYS OF THE ACCOUNT, FOLLOWING APPROPRIATION BY THE LEGISLATURE, MAY BE EXPENDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-TWO OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE LAW. MONEYS SHALL BE PAID OUT OF THE ACCOUNT ON THE AUDIT AND WARRANT OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER ON VOUCHERS CERTIFIED OR APPROVED BY THE CHAIR OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION. S 3. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately; provided that nothing in this act shall be construed to limit any administrative authority, with respect to matters included in this act, which existed prior to the effective date of this act.