Monday evening, we heard the voices and saw the faces of our fellow Chautauqua County citizens as they addressed the New York state Public Service Commission. More than 2,000 teachers, firefighters, senior citizens, business owners, and residents from across Chautauqua County mustered in the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia.
This powerful forum was made possible by the strong leadership of state Sen. Cathy Young. Her masterful testimony was punctuated by Assemblyman Andy Goodell who skillfully questioned the presenters to peel back the layers of rhetoric and expose the truth. Then, over 70 speakers covered the devastating impact on our community if NRG Dunkirk Power is not repowered with state of the art clean natural gas. At 11:35 p.m., the hearing adjourned. So now what?
Every now and then there comes a time and a cause when our citizens rise up to a challenge. Remember the words: "I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant." Although we are not facing a wartime attack, we are facing a threat to our economic security and quality of life here in Chautauqua County.
The stakes are enormous: reliable power, clean energy, $500 million private investment, hundreds of jobs, and $8.3 million in tax payments affecting our property taxes and the education of our kids. State Gov. Andrew Cuomo was just here in Chautauqua County discussing the 30-year declining Western New York economy. When questioned by the media on the NRG repower initiative, he said let the Public Service Commission's public comment process play out.
My fellow citizens, the time has come for each of us to respond through our written comments.
For those who were unable to testify Monday evening, your comments will be accepted by the Public Service Commission through Aug. 16. We need you to make your comments known to both Gov. Cuomo and commission Chairman Garry Brown. Reference case 12-E-0577.
Please mail your comments to:
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Albany, NY 12224
Chairman Garry A. Brown
Acting Secretary Jeffery Cohen
NYS Public Service Commission
Agency Bldg. 3. Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223
Information can be found online at www.dps.ny.gov by searching case number 12-E-0577. Comments may be submitted online, by mail or by calling the commission at 1-800-335-2120.
Vince Horrigan is a member of the Chautauqua County Legislature and the Republican Party candidate for Chautauqua County executive.