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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"?
Q. What is meant by the term "major"?
A. An electric generating facility is deemed to be "major" if it has the capacity to generate 25,000 kilowatts (25 megawatts) or more of electricity. The 25 megawatt threshold is roughly equivalent to the average electric power needs of 30,000 households in New York State.
Q. What is meant by the term "electric generating"?
Q. What is meant by the term "facility"?
A. A "facility" includes all the components of a power plant located on the site and may also include new interconnecting electric power lines and natural gas fuel pipelines. For example, a natural gas-fired facility would include a natural gas pipeline to bring fuel to the facility; a boiler to create steam; a turbine to be rotated by the steam; an electric generator to be turned by the turbine; a cooling system; exhaust stacks; various buildings to house the components; employee areas; back-up fuel storage tanks; ancillary equipment, parking and storage areas; an electric substation including transformers; and a transmission line to carry the electricity out to the grid. A wind-power facility would include wind turbines on towers with integrated electric generators; electric collection lines; access roads; an electric switchyard and substation including transformers; meteorological towers; and a transmission line to carry the electricity out to the grid.
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?
A. The five permanent members of the Siting Board are the Chairman of the Department of Public Service who serves as chairperson of the Siting Board; the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation; the Commissioner of the Department of Health; the Chairperson of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; and the Commissioner of Economic Development. The permanent members may designate an alternate to serve instead of the member with respect to all proceedings provided that such designation is in writing and filed with the chairperson.
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?
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?
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?
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?
A. No. There are three power authorities in New York State: the Power Authority of the State of New York (NYPA); the Green Island Power Authority; and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). The statute expressly provides that all three authorities are subject to the provisions of the Article 10 siting process for major electric generating facilities which they build or cause to be built.
Q. Are any electric generating facilities exempt from the Article 10 process?
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?
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?
A. The Public Involvement Program plan must include: (a) consultation with the affected agencies and other stakeholders; (b) pre-application activities to encourage stakeholders to participate at the earliest opportunity; (c) activities designed to educate the public as to the specific proposal and the Article 10 review process, including the availability of funding for municipal and local parties; (d) the establishment of a website to disseminate information to the public; (e) notifications; and (f) activities designed to encourage participation by stakeholders in the certification and compliance process. In addition, an applicant is expected to communicate with the public early in the pre-application process through the use of various means such as media coverage, direct mailings, fliers or newsletters. This should be done before any agreements on project stipulations have been made between the applicant and interested parties. In addition, the applicant is expected to hold public meetings, offer presentations to individual groups and organizations, and establish a community presence. Establishing a local office, a toll-free telephone number, Internet website, or a community advisory group are among the actions an applicant may take to establish its presence in the community. An applicant should disseminate information about its proposed project at meetings, in mass mailings and through local media.
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?
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?
A. The presiding examiner will award funds on an equitable basis to participants during the pre-application phase to be used to make an effective contribution to review of the preliminary scoping statement, and thereby provide early and effective public involvement.
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?
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?
A. Provided they file with the Siting Board a notice of intent to be a party, within 45 days after the date given in the published notice as the date for the filing of the application, the following parties have a right to be a party to an Article 10 proceeding merely by giving the required notice: (a) the affected municipality; (b) any individual resident of an affected municipality; (c) any non-profit corporation or association, formed in whole or in part to promote conservation or natural beauty, to protect the environment, personal health or other biological values, to preserve historical sites, to promote consumer interests, to represent commercial and industrial groups or to promote the orderly development of any area in which the facility is to be located; and (d) any other municipality or resident of such municipality located within a five mile radius of such proposed facility
(their notice of intent must include an explanation of the potential environmental effects on such municipality or person). In addition, the presiding officer may for good cause shown permit a municipality or other person to become a party and to participate in all subsequent stages of the proceeding.
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?
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?
A. If the application amendment is deemed a revision requiring substantial additional scrutiny, the applicant will be assessed an additional intervenor fee equal to $1,000 for each 1,000 kilowatts of capacity of the proposed project, as amended, but no more than $75,000.00. The presiding examiner may increase the level of the additional intervenor fee up to the maximum level of $75,000 if the presiding examiner finds circumstances require a higher level of intervenor funding in order to ensure an adequate record.
Q. How does a qualified intervenor make a request for intervenor funds?
Q. Who is eligible for intervenor funds?
A. All municipal and local parties to the proceeding are eligible for application phase intervenor funds. The presiding examiner shall reserve at least 50% of the application phase funds for potential awards to municipalities.
Q. What can application phase intervenor funds be used for?
Q. On what basis will the funds be awarded?
HEARING PROCEDURES - CONDUCT OF THE HEARING
Q. Who conducts the hearings?
A. The hearings will be conducted by a presiding examiner designated by the Department of Public Service. An associate examiner shall be designated by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The associate examiner will assist the presiding examiner in inquiring into and calling for testimony concerning relevant and material matters, and the conclusions and recommendations of the associate examiner will be incorporated in the recommended decision of the presiding examiner.
Q. What kinds of hearings will be held?
A. It is expected that both public statement hearings and trial-type evidentiary hearings will be held. In addition, persons are permitted to make a limited appearance.
Q. What are "public statement" hearings?
A. Public statement hearings are designed to obtain input from the general public. The format is designed for the taking of unsworn oral statements, although written statements ordinarily may also be submitted. Parties to the proceeding are not permitted to cross examine the persons making such statements.
Q. What is a "limited appearance"?
Any person may make a limited appearance in the proceeding by filing a statement of his or her intent to limit his or her appearance in writing at any time prior to the commencement of the hearing. All papers and matters filed by a person making a limited appearance shall become part of the record. No person making a limited appearance shall be a party or shall have the right to present testimony or cross-examine witnesses or parties.
Q. What are "trial-type evidentiary" hearings?
A. Trial-type evidentiary hearings are designed to obtain sworn testimony from witnesses (usually expert witnesses) that are subject to cross examination by the parties to the proceeding. The format is designed like a trial and it is recommended that the participants be assisted by legal counsel, although the assistance of legal counsel is not mandatory. The usual practice is for written direct and rebuttal testimony and discovery to be circulated to the parties in advance so that the hearings can focus on the cross examination of witnesses.
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?
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?
Q. What are the required statutory factors that must be considered by the Siting Board in making the required determinations?
COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
Q. Who is in charge of compliance and enforcement matters regarding a Certificate that has been issued?
A. Following any rehearing and any judicial review of the decision, the Siting Board's jurisdiction over an application shall cease, provided, however, that the permanent board shall retain jurisdiction with respect to the amendment, suspension or revocation of a certificate. The Department of Public Service or the Public Service Commission shall monitor, enforce and administer compliance with any terms and conditions set forth in the Siting Board's order granting a certificate.