November 14, 2009 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 14, 2009

The St. Lawrence Valley Environmental Coalition has urged communities and citizens along the river and across the entire county to "take a long and hard look" at the plans of the County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) for spending over $16 million expected from the New York Power Authority.  The Coalition is convinced the IDA's plans are "unnecessarily expensive, will not provide the economic boost our river communities and the county as a whole need, and pose a threat to the local environment."  These views have been expressed in a letter sent to local officials in the towns of Lisbon, Louisville, Massena and Waddington, and county legislators.  The full text of the letter, and an accompanying letter sent to the Local Government Task Force, is attached.

The Coalition recommends "a comprehensive approach to create local jobs while improving our communities and helping to establish a favorable climate for economic growth".  The group is also critical of the IDA's "single-purpose agenda" that is "limited to luring big industry and business to the area."The Coaliton feels the IDA plan is   "laden with administrative overhead and devoid of environmental sensitivity."  Over $300,000 will be spent annually just to administer the program.  The Coaliton favors investing the NYPA money in an endowment that will help fund worthwhile projects over a long period of time, rather than spending it all on speculative ideas that may yield little or nothing of lasting value.

The $16 million in NYPA funds are leftover from the failed aquarium and ecological center, which was designed to bring both economic and environmental benefits to the area.  The Coalition feels "there are many promising ways by which economic development and environmental management benefits can both be achieved", and that "funds should be potentially available for a wide variety of projects and programs that will improve the community and help create a favorable climate for sustainable and environmentally responsible economic growth."  The Coalition recommends that a St. Lawrence Greenway Plan be prepared, and that the NYPA funds be used to implement it and leverage more money into the local economy.  This approach has been taken in the Niagara region and it's highly successful.  According to Coalition spokesperson Richard Grover,  "it's simply good sense to have a plan that's been developed with input from local communities and citizens.  Without an agreed-upon plan, we're afraid the IDA will piddle the money away on administrative overhead and pet projects and ideas that won't work for the area."

For more information contact Richard Grover at 379-9697.

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