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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"?
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"?
A. "Ad hoc" is a Latin term meaning "for this special purpose". Two ad hoc members will be appointed for the special purpose of providing a local voice in each proceeding conducted to consider specific individual applications for certificates. Each facility application will have its own associated ad hoc members.
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?
A. To be eligible to be an ad hoc public member, the person must:
(a) be eighteen years of age or older,
(b) be a citizen of the United States;
(c) be a resident of New York State;
(d) be a resident of the municipality in which the facility is proposed to be located (if such facility is proposed to be located within the City of New York, the person must also be a resident of the community district in which the facility is proposed to be located);
(e) not hold another state or local office; and
(f) not retain or hold any official relation to, or any securities of an electric utility corporation operating in the state or proposed for operation in the state, any affiliate thereof or any other company, firm, partnership, corporation, association or joint-stock association that may appear before the Siting Board, nor shall the person have been a director, officer or, within the previous ten years, an employee thereof.
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?
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"?
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?
A. Applicants must submit proposed Public Involvement Program plans in writing to the Department of Public Service for review as to their adequacy at least 150 days prior to the submittal of any preliminary scoping statement. For good cause, applicants may request a reduction in the minimum number of days to less than 150.
Q. What happens if the Department of Public Service (DPS) finds the Public Involvement Program plan to be inadequate?
A. DPS has 30 days after the date of the applicant's submittal to make written comments on the adequacy of the Public Involvement Program plan. If deemed inadequate, DPS will make specific written recommendations as to what measures are necessary to make the Public Involvement Program plan adequate. Thereafter, the applicant has 30 days to consider the measures recommended by DPS and, in a final written Public Involvement Program plan filed with the Secretary, shall as to each specific measure either revise the Public Involvement Program plan to incorporate the DPS recommendation, or provide a written explanation as to why the applicant is not incorporating the DPS recommendation.
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?
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?
Q. What is an "intervenor"?
Q. What is the amount of the intervenor fee assessed during the pre-application stage?
A. Applicants submitting a preliminary scoping statement are assessed an intervenor fee equal to $350 for each 1,000 kilowatts (1 megawatt) of generating capacity of the subject facility, but no more than $200,000. For example, for a 100 megawatt facility, the pre-application intervenor fee would be $35,000 (100 x $350).
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?
A. The presiding examiner will provide for an expedited pre-application funding disbursement schedule to assure early and meaningful public involvement. Following receipt of initial requests for pre-application funds, the presiding examiner shall expeditiously make an initial award of pre-application funds. Subject to the availability of funds, the presiding examiner may fix additional dates for submission of fund requests. Thereafter the presiding examiner may make additional awards of pre-application funds, in relation to the potential for such awards to make an effective contribution to review of the preliminary scoping statement.
Q. Who is eligible for intervenor funds?
A. All municipal and local parties are eligible. The presiding examiner shall reserve at least 50% of the pre-application funds for potential awards to municipalities.
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?
A. Within sixty days of receipt, the Chairperson of the Siting Board determines whether the documents submitted comply with the requirements of the law, regulations and stipulations. The Department of Environmental Conservation also advises the Siting Board within the sixty day period whether the documents submitted contain sufficient information.
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?
Q. How does an applicant set up the fund?
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?
A. A notice of availability of the funds will be issued providing a schedule and related information. The notice will describe how municipal and local parties may apply for intervenor funds. Requests must be submitted to the presiding examiner within 30 days after the issuance of the notice by filing the request with the Secretary and submitting a copy to the presiding examiner and to the other parties to the proceeding. At any pre-hearing conference that may be held to consider fund requests, the parties should be prepared to discuss their funding applications and the award of funds. Parties are encouraged to consider consolidating their requests with similar funding proposals made by other parties.
Q. Who is eligible for intervenor funds?
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?
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?
A. If during the proceeding there is a material and substantial amendment to the application, the deadlines may be extended by no more than 6 months to consider such amendment, unless the deadline is waived by the applicant.
Q. Are there any other exceptions to the deadlines described above?
A. Yes, but only in an unusual circumstance. If the proceeding is on certain qualifying applications by an owner of an existing major electric generating facility to modify that facility or site a new major electric generating facility adjacent or contiguous to the existing facility, the deadlines are different such that the final decision by the Siting Board must be completed within 6 months, the extension permitted in extraordinary circumstances is 3 months, and the extension permitted to consider a material and substantial amendment to the application is 3 months, unless the deadlines are waived by the applicant.
SITING BOARD DECISIONS - SUBSTANCE OF THE DECISION
Q. What options does the Siting Board have in making a decision on an Article 10 application?
A. The Siting Board can grant a certificate in the manner requested by the applicant, it can grant a certificate subject to modifications and or conditions, or it may deny the application. In rendering a decision on an application for a certificate, the Siting Board must issue a written opinion stating its reasons for the action taken.
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?
COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
Q. Who is in charge of compliance and enforcement matters regarding a Certificate that has been issued?