ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement with legislative leaders Monday to create a new development fund devoted to spurring economic activity in St. Lawrence County.
The agreement allows for the net earnings from the market sale of a block of unutilized hydropower from the New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Hydroelectric Plant to be applied for economic development.
The use of the anticipated earnings of about $2 million a year is consistent with commitments made under the recently announced St. Regis land-claim agreement for payments to St. Lawrence County as part of the overall package of provisions settling the matter, according to a news release from the New York Power Authority.
“This agreement adds another dimension to our efforts to spur economic development and growth in the North Country,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“By tapping into the region’s supply of unutilized hydropower, we can jumpstart the economy in the North Country, invest in local businesses and help create jobs and new opportunities for New Yorkers in St. Lawrence County."
Under the agreement with state legislative leaders, up to 20 megawatts of hydropower that is made available under contract to the Massena Electric Department for “sub-allocations” to eligible businesses will also be harnessed for area economic development from the net earnings of the sale of the power into the wholesale electricity marketplace.
The proceeds will be used to award grants to enterprises in St. Lawrence County from a Northern New York Economic Development Fund.
An entity created by the legislation, the Northern New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board, will recommend the awards on the basis of statutory criteria, including capital investments and jobs.
The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees will take into account the recommendations before making awards.
Jonathan Putney, chairman of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, said, “This agreement to monetize megawatts into millions of dollars annually marks the beginning of a new chapter in energizing our economy through the creation of new jobs in our community.
"This bipartisan agreement creates new avenues of economic opportunity for our citizens and I want to thank Governor Cuomo and all other leaders involved in helping to secure these economic development funds for our area.”
Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey (R-Peru) said the plan "will provide an opportunity for businesses to expand and create jobs. I am pleased with another program to assist local North Country businesses in economic development and job creation.”