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Q. What is Article 10?
A. "Article 10" was enacted in 2011 to be a portion of the New York State Public Service Law. It is a general state law that is applicable in all of New York State. Article 10 empowers the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (Siting Board) to issue Certificates of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (certificate) authorizing the construction and operation of major electric generating facilities.
Q. What is meant by the term "siting"?
A. "Siting" is a process consisting of a series of steps conducted by a regulatory agency in determining whether to allow a facility to be located and operated on a site.
Q. What is meant by the term "major"?
Q. What is meant by the term "electric generating"?
Q. What is meant by the term "facility"?
Q. What is meant by the term "certificate"?
A. A "certificate" is a legal document issued by the Siting Board to an applicant if the Siting Board determines that the applicant's proposal to construct and operate a major electric generating facility satisfies the statutory standards set forth in Article 10 of the Public Service Law. The certificate authorizes the applicant to construct and operate the proposed facility. The certificate must be in the form of a written decision and opinion, must include explicit findings and determinations required by the statute, and must state the reasons of the Siting Board for the action taken.
THE SITING BOARD
Q. What is the "Siting Board"?
Q. Who are the permanent members of the Siting Board?
Q. What is meant by the term "ad hoc"?
Q. Do ad hoc public members receive any compensation for their service on the Siting Board?
A. Yes. The ad hoc appointees shall receive the sum of two hundred dollars for each day in which they are actually engaged in the performance of their duties plus actual and necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of such duties.
Q. What are the qualifications to be an ad hoc public member?
Q. How are the two ad hoc public members designated to serve on the Siting Board?
Q. How is the list of ad hoc public member candidates established?
Q. How is the list of candidates established in the City of New York?
Q. How is the list of candidates established in a town outside of any villages or in a city other than the City of New York?
Q. How is the list of candidates established in a village?
A. If such facility is proposed to be located in a village, the chief executive officer representing the town shall nominate four candidates, the chief executive officer representing the county shall nominate four candidates, and the chief executive officer representing the village shall nominate four candidates for consideration. The list of candidates is to be submitted to the President Pro Tem of the Senate or the Speaker of the Assembly within fifteen days of receipt of notification of the pre-application preliminary scoping statement.
Q. How is the list of candidates established if the facility is to be built on parcels of land located in more than one municipality?
A. Candidates from each affected municipality will be nominated.
Q. What resources are available to assist the Siting Board?
A. The Department of Public Service provides a presiding examiner and whatever legal, technological, scientific, engineering and other services that may be required. The Department of Environmental Conservation provides an associate examiner. The Secretary and the General Counsel to the Public Service Commission serve as Secretary and the General Counsel to the Siting Board.
TYPES OF GENERATING FACILITIES
Q. What types of electric generating facilities are likely to be proposed pursuant to the Article 10 process?
Q. Are electric generating facilities to be built by a power authority exempt from the Article 10 process?
Q. Are any electric generating facilities exempt from the Article 10 process?
A. Yes. The statute provides exemption for:
(a) electric generating facilities with a generating capacity of less than 25 megawatts;
(b) electric generating facilities for which the federal government has exclusive siting jurisdiction;
(c) electric generating facilities for which the federal government has concurrent siting jurisdiction and has exercised such jurisdiction to the exclusion of state regulation;
(d) normal repairs, replacements, modifications and improvements of a major electric generating facility, whenever built, which do not constitute a violation of any Article 10 certificate and which do not result in an increase in capacity of the facility of more than 25 megawatts;
(e) electric generating facilities of 200 megawatts or less constructed on lands dedicated to industrial uses where the electricity generated is used solely for industrial purposes on the premises;
(f) electric generating facilities for which an application was made on or before July 12, 2012 for a license, permit, certificate, consent or approval from any federal, state or local commission, agency, board or regulatory body; and.
(g) electric generating facilities under construction on July 12, 2012.
Q. If a facility is exempt from the Article 10 process, can the developer of the facility opt-in to the Article 10 process?
PRE-APPLICATION PROCEDURES - PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
Q. What is meant by the term "public involvement"?
A. "Public involvement" is the process of enabling the public to participate in decisions that may affect public health, safety and the environment.
Q. In what stages of the Article 10 process is it appropriate to conduct public involvement activities?
A. Public involvement is intended to be a proactive process that begins during the planning of a preliminary scoping statement before it is filed, and continues throughout the planning, pre-application, certification, compliance, construction, and operation processes.
Q. How is public involvement conducted?
Q. Is the public required to participate in the applicant's public involvement activities?
Q. What are the purposes of a Public Involvement Program?
Q. What are the elements of a Public Involvement Program plan?
Q. When does the Public Involvement Program plan have to be prepared?
Q. What happens if the Department of Public Service (DPS) finds the Public Involvement Program plan to be inadequate?
What happens if the applicant refuses to incorporate a DPS recommendation without an adequate explanation, or has an inadequate Public Involvement Program plan?
Q. How do people who do not speak English participate in public involvement?
Q. What is the function of the Office of Public Information Coordinator created within the Department of Public Service?
Q. What is the Department of Public Service?
Q. How can I contact the Office of Public Information Coordinator?
PRE-APPLICATION PROCEDURES - PRELIMINARY SCOPING STATEMENT
Q. What is a Preliminary Scoping Statement?
Q. When does the Preliminary Scoping Statement have to be filed?
Q. What kind of information must be included in a Preliminary Scoping Statement?
A. The information that must be included falls into two major categories. The first category is a description of the proposed facility and its environmental setting. Among other things, the information provided must include the description of potential environmental and health impacts resulting from the construction and operation of the proposed facility; measures proposed to minimize environmental impacts; reasonable alternatives to the facility; and the identification of all other state and federal permits, certifications, or other authorizations needed for construction, operation or maintenance of the proposed facility. The second category is a description of the proposed studies or program of studies designed to evaluate potential environmental and health impacts that the applicant intends to include in its application for an Article 10 certificate. The description of the studies must include the extent and quality of information needed for the application to adequately address and evaluate each potentially significant adverse environmental and health impact, including existing and new information where required, and the methodologies and procedures for obtaining the new information. The preliminary scoping statement must also include an identification of any other material issues raised by the public and affected agencies during any consultation and the response of the applicant to those issues.
Q. What happens after the Preliminary Scoping Statement is filed?
PRE-APPLICATION PROCEDURES - Fund for Municipal & LOCAL PARTIES
Q. What is the fund for municipal and local parties?
A. Applicants are required at several stages in the Article 10 process to provide funds to be used to defray certain expenses incurred by municipal and local parties when participating in an Article 10 proceeding. These funds are known as "intervenor" funds collected by assessing an "intervenor" fee on the applicant.
Q: How does an applicant set up the fund?
A. Applicants supplying the requisite fee to set up the intervenor funding account for the preliminary scoping phase of the case must provide a check, made out to the NYS Department of Public Service, simultaneously with the filing of their Preliminary Scoping Statement. The case number must be printed on the face of the check. The check must be delivered to the Director of the DPS Office of Finance and Budget, under cover of a letter stating the amount of the check and the Article 10 case name and number. The letter must be copied to the Secretary of the Siting Board for filing in the Article 10 case.
Q. What is an "intervenor"?
Q. What is the amount of the intervenor fee assessed during the pre-application stage?
Q. What happens if after the pre-application intervenor fees have been used up, the applicant amends its preliminary scoping statement and more review is required?
A. If the pre-application preliminary scoping statement
is substantially modified or revised, the Siting Board may require an additional pre-application intervenor fee in an amount not to exceed $25,000.
Q. How does a qualified intervenor make a request for intervenor funds?
Q. When are pre-application intervenor funds awarded?
Q. Who is eligible for intervenor funds?
Q. What can pre-application intervenor funds be used for?
Q. On what basis will the funds be awarded?
PRE-APPLICATION PROCEDURES - STIPULATIONS
Q. What are stipulations?
Q. How is the stipulations process initiated?
Q. Do other parties and the public get an opportunity to participate in the stipulations process?
Q. What happens if a party does not agree that a stipulation entered into between the applicant and another party is adequate?
APPLICATION PROCEDURES - SUBMISSION OF AN APPLICATION
Q. What happens when an Article 10 application is submitted?
Q. What happens if the documents submitted are insufficient to comply with the requirements of the law, regulations and stipulations?
A. If the documents submitted are insufficient to comply with the requirements of the law, regulations and stipulations, the Chairperson of the Siting Board will issue a letter to the applicant advising of the deficiencies that must be corrected before the documents can be deemed a complying application.
The Chairperson of the Siting Board may also require the filing of any additional information needed to supplement an application before or during the hearings.
Q. What happens if the documents submitted are sufficient to comply with the requirements of the law, regulations and stipulations?
APPLICATION PROCEDURES - DESIGNATION OF PARTIES
Q. Who are the parties to an Article 10 proceeding?
Q. Who are the automatic statutory parties to an Article 10 proceeding?
Q. Who are the parties that have a right to be a party to an Article 10 proceeding merely by giving notice?
Q. Who are the parties that may be permitted to join?
Q. Where does a party file a notice of intent to be a party?
APPLICATION PROCEDURES - Fund for Municipal & LOCAL PARTIES
Q. What is the amount of the intervenor fee assessed when an application is filed?
A. Applicants are assessed an intervenor fee equal to $1,000 for each 1,000 kilowatts (1 megawatt) of generating capacity of the subject facility, but no more than $400,000. For example, for a 100 megawatt facility, the application phase intervenor fee would be $100,000 (100 x $1000). In addition, for facilities that will require storage or disposal of fuel waste byproduct, an additional intervenor fee will be assessed at the application phase of $500.00 for each 1,000 kilowatts (1 megawatt) of capacity, but no more than an additional $50,000.00.
Q. How does an applicant set up the fund?
A. Applicants supplying the requisite fee to set up the intervenor funding account for the application phase of the case must provide a check, made out to the NYS Department of Public Service, simultaneously with the filing of their Application.
The case number must be printed on the face of the check. The check must be delivered to the Director of the DPS Office of Finance and Budget, under cover of a letter stating the amount of the check and the Article 10 case name and number. The letter must be copied to the Secretary of the Siting Board for filing in the Article 10 case.
Q. What happens if after the application phase intervenor fees have been used up, the applicant amends its application and more review is required?
Q. How does a qualified intervenor make a request for intervenor funds?
Q. Who is eligible for intervenor funds?
Q. What can application phase intervenor funds be used for?
A. The intervenor funds awarded can be used
to defray expenses incurred by municipal and local parties for expert witnesses, consultants, administrative costs (document preparation and duplications costs) and legal fees. No intervenor funds may be used to pay for judicial review or litigation costs.
Q. On what basis will the funds be awarded?
A. The presiding examiner will award funds on an equitable basis to municipal and local parties who will use them to contribute to a complete record leading to an informed decision as to the appropriateness of the site and the facility and will facilitate broad participation in the proceeding.
HEARING PROCEDURES - CONDUCT OF THE HEARING
Q. Who conducts the hearings?
Q. What kinds of hearings will be held?
Q. What are "public statement" hearings?
Q. What is a "limited appearance"?
Q. What are "trial-type evidentiary" hearings?
Q. What is "discovery"?
A. "Discovery" is a pre-trial process used by parties to obtain facts and information about the case from other parties. The most common discovery device is the written interrogatory, but oral depositions and other devices are also available. Any party to a proceeding is subject to the discovery process.
Q. If the Siting Board does not personally conduct the hearings, how does it become informed of the proceedings?
A. A written transcript record is made of the hearings and of all testimony taken and the cross-examinations thereon. In addition, the presiding examiner will provide a summary of the proceedings in a recommended decision that will be presented to the Siting Board. The parties will also present legal briefs to the Siting Board with citations to the portions of the record they deem relevant to their positions.
SITING BOARD DECISIONS - TIMING OF THE DECISION
Q. Is there a deadline by which the Siting Board must make a final decision on an Article 10 application?
Q. What happens to the deadline if the application is amended during the Article 10 proceeding?
Q. Are there any other exceptions to the deadlines described above?
SITING BOARD DECISIONS - SUBSTANCE OF THE DECISION
Q. What options does the Siting Board have in making a decision on an Article 10 application?
Q. What substantive matters must be addressed in any Siting Board decision to grant an Article 10 certificate?
Q. What are the required statutory findings that must be made by the Siting Board?
A. The Siting Board must make explicit findings regarding the nature of the probable environmental impacts of the construction and operation of the facility, including the cumulative environmental impacts of the construction and operation of related facilities such as electric lines, gas lines, water supply lines, waste water or other sewage treatment facilities, communications and relay facilities, access roads, rail facilities, or steam lines, including impacts on: (a) ecology, air, ground and surface water, wildlife, and habitat;
(b) public health and safety; (c) cultural, historic, and recreational resources, including aesthetics and scenic values; and (d) transportation, communication, utilities and other infrastructure. Such findings shall include the cumulative impact of emissions on the local community including whether the construction and operation of the facility results in a significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impact, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding environmental justice issues.
Q. What are the required statutory determinations that must be made by the Siting Board?
A. The Siting Board must make explicit determinations that: (a) the facility is a beneficial addition to or substitution for the electric generation capacity of the state; (b) the construction and operation of the facility will serve the public interest; (c) the adverse environmental effects of the construction and operation of the facility will be minimized or avoided to the maximum extent practicable; (d) if the board finds that the facility results in or contributes to a significant and adverse disproportionate environmental impact in the community in which the facility would be located, the applicant will avoid, offset or minimize the impacts caused by the facility upon the local community for the duration that the certificate is issued to the maximum extent practicable using verifiable measures; (e) the facility is designed to operate in compliance with applicable state and local laws and regulations issued thereunder concerning, among other matters, the environment, public health and safety, all of which shall be binding upon the applicant, except that the Siting Board may elect not to apply, in whole or in part, any local ordinance, law, resolution or other action or any regulation issued thereunder or any local standard or requirement, including, but not limited to, those relating to the interconnection to and use of water, electric, sewer, telecommunication, fuel and steam lines in public rights of way, which would be otherwise applicable if it finds that, as applied to the proposed facility, such is unreasonably burdensome in view of the existing technology or the needs of or costs to ratepayers whether located inside or outside of such municipality. The Siting Board shall provide the municipality an opportunity to present evidence in support of such ordinance, law, resolution, regulation or other local action issued thereunder.
Q. What are the required statutory factors that must be considered by the Siting Board in making the required determinations?
A. The Siting Board must consider: (a) the state of available technology; (b) the nature and economics of reasonable alternatives; (c) environmental impacts found pursuant to subdivision two of this section; (d) the impact of construction and operation of related facilities, such as electric lines, gas lines, water supply lines, waste water or other sewage treatment facilities, communications and relay facilities, access roads, rail facilities, or steam lines; (e) the consistency of the construction and operation of the facility with the energy policies and long-range energy planning objectives and strategies contained in the most recent state energy plan; (f) the impact on community character and whether the facility would affect communities that are disproportionately impacted by cumulative levels of pollutants; and (g) such additional social, economic, visual or other aesthetic, environmental and other considerations deemed pertinent by the Siting Board.
COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
Q. Who is in charge of compliance and enforcement matters regarding a Certificate that has been issued?