New York State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell says the New York state budget conference committees have been receptive to Dunkirk and the region's concerns regarding the future of the NRG plant in the city.
Goodell told the OBSERVER on Friday all key leaders on the committees "have been personally briefed by me and all of them - Republicans and Democrats - were very receptive." He especially commended Vito Lopez, Energy Subcommittee chair, and Robin Schimminger, Economic Development Subcommittee chair, both of whom have been very supportive.
"That's huge," Goodell said. "I am very honored that Vito Lopez and his staff have taken an interest in this."
Other subcommittees in supportive of the plant remaining open include the Agriculture and Housing groups, Goodell said.
"This is the singular most important issue in Dunkirk and the north county region," he said.
The state budget is due by April 1.
Last week, Chautauqua County officials learned NRG was filing a mothball notice with the New York state Public Service Commission. The mothball notice is a filing condition in order for the commission to conduct a reliability analysis of the Dunkirk facility.
The commission has up to 180 days to complete the study, which will determine whether a shutdown of Dunkirk's four generating units would cause a reliability problem.
"All (the subcommittee) leadership is very responsive and thoroughly understand the situation," Goodell said.
NRG is the largest taxpayer in the county and has a payroll of nearly $20 million for those who are associated with the plant. In addition, the company has invested more than $200 million in improvements to the facility.
Goodell, who also credited state Sen. Catharine Young's efforts, said residents should continue to reach out to the governor and Assembly speaker and voice their support for the plant.
County residents are being asked to contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo by e-mail at www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php or by calling (518) 474-8390 as well as Hon. Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (518) 455-3791 to voice their support for the NRG facility here.
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