Council asked to join NYPA fight

George D. Maziarz

September 09, 2009

State Sen. George Maziarz stopped by Tuesday’s Niagara Falls City Council meeting and urged members to join his fight against the New York Power Authority.

Maziarz, who does not represent any part of Niagara Falls, urged the council to draft a resolution in support of the Niagara County Legislature’s lawsuit against NYPA to reverse the transfer of $550 million in surplus NYPA funds to New York state’s coffers.

The $550 million to the state is considered a loan but Maziarz has argued for months that provisions attached to the “sweep” make it extremely unlikely the money will ever be paid back. He said the millions could be better spent on projects in the Niagara Region and belongs here since the Niagara Power Project is by far the most profitable of NYPA’s 18 power plants throughout the state.

“Niagara is truly the goose that laid the golden egg for the Power Authority,” Maziarz said.

The senator said he plans on attending a government meeting in every Niagara County city, town and village to request support against NYPA. He pointed out three companies recently changed plans to locate in Niagara County after being denied low-cost power from NYPA. The state agency later approved low-cost power for Yahoo! to locate in the Town of Lockport after the county Legislature filed its lawsuit.

“What works for the New York Power Authority is holding them accountable and publicly criticizing them,” Maziarz told the council. “You can send a message ... stand up for the people of Niagara County and tell the Power Authority that we’re not satisfied with the crumbs off the table they’re giving us.”

Chairman Chris Robins said the council will consider a resolution in support of the Legislature’s lawsuit. However, he criticized politicians who are saying Western New York and Niagara County as a whole are deserving of the $550 million. He pointed out the Niagara Power Plant only directly impacts Niagara Falls and Lewiston.

“Anything that I would be in support of would be for this community, not the entire region,” Robins said. “If we’re talking about $550 million for Niagara Falls, I’m right with you.”