Memorandum From: St. Lawrence County Environmental Management Council to Legislators

December 14, 2009

St. Lawrence County Environmental Management Council

48 Court Street

Canton, New York 13617--1169

Phone: (315) 379-2281 Fax: (315) 379-2252

E-mail: planning@co.st-lawrence.ny.us

Web Site:  http://www.co.st-lawrence.ny.us/Planning/EMC.htm

MEMORANDUM

To: J. Patrick Turbett, Robert McNeil, Laura Perry

From: Jon Montan

Date: Monday Dec. 14, 2009

Re: River Valley Redevelopment Agency and Environmental Management Council recommendations

Laura Perry contacted me and requested that I work with the EMC to recommend a course of action that incorporates “ projects and programs intended to improve and protect the natural environment, and increase our understanding and appreciation thereof….” (quoting SLVEC letter to Eric Gustafson, Oct. 28, 2009) into the scope of future projects and programs  of the RVRDA.

I have met with selected EMC members and am now ready, along with EMC Chairman David Katz, to meet with you at a time of mutual convenience. This memo sets forth some recommendations that we believe will accomplish this objective while at the same time not slow the progress toward a timely agreement with NYPA.

We recognize that NYPA has, through the relicensing process, agreed to fund a variety of environmental initiatives: FEMRF, SLRREF and habitat improvement projects.  In addition, $10 million of the $26 million in former “Aquarium” money has been assigned to Seaway Private Equity Corp. whose purpose is to assist with the commercialization of new products and services in the areas of renewable energy and environmental technologies in St. Lawrence County.

The remaining money and power “in play” is something over $16 million on deposit and 20 MW of Preference Power.  We have no particular comment on the 20 MW of Preference Power.

With regard to the $16 million, our preference would be to see the following:

The full $16 million+ principal would be deposited in an account, the interest from which would be used to fund projects under different categories including, but not limited to: property acquisition and development, project incentives, community development, business expansion and environmental protection

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.   Projects would be submitted to the Board of the River Valley Redevelopment Agency once or twice a year, evaluated and funded.  Eligible applicants would include municipalities and their designated agents,  not-for-profit community development organizations, incorporated land trusts and local development corporations.  Projects –and this is important – would have to substantively relate to a planning process that has been undertaken by an applicant prior to submission of a proposal.  No pre-planning, no eligibility.

Using this approach, we feel that the parties can sign an agreement with NYPA, get up and running, avoid what may be perceived to be a massive, time-consuming planning process, yet integrally incorporate all-important planning into the process.

What guidelines would the RVRDA Board use to evaluate projects?   We would like to see a minimum of 10% of the annual interest earmarked for the environmental protection category, unless in a given year no environmental project is proposed for up to or including this amount, then there would be no such earmark.

Eligible environmental projects would include, but not be limited to: land preservation through the acquisition of easements, habitat improvement projects not specified in the FERC license and environmental best management practices demonstration projects.

Because some proposals will come from the very municipalities that comprise the RVRDA, which could cause problems with conflicts-of-interest, we support expanding the representation of the RVRDA Board in a manner suggested by Mr. Grover in the aforementioned Oct. 28 letter.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you at your earliest convenience.

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Note: Some of these categories are taken from the May 2007 SLRRDA Economic Development Proposal draft.

 

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