(click on the blue arrows
to expand a question and see the answer)
Expand all sections - Printer Friendly Page
Collapse all sections
Q. What is Article 10?
Q. What is meant by the term "siting"?
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"?
A. The Siting Board is a governmental entity of New York State organized within the New York State Department of Public Service. The Siting Board was established primarily to review applications and to issue or deny certificates authorizing the construction and operation of major electric generating facilities. When the Siting Board is reviewing an original application for a certificate, it consists of five permanent members and two ad hoc
public members. The five permanent members of the Siting Board also have additional responsibilities to promulgate regulations for the implementation of Article 10, and they have jurisdiction with respect to the amendment, suspension or revocation of a certificate.
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?
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?
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?
A. Based on recent market trends in New York State, the types of electric generating facilities most likely to be proposed pursuant to the Article 10 process are natural gas-fired facilities and wind-power facilities. But it is possible that other types of generating facilities will be proposed. The Summer 2012 installed generating capacity of power plants in the New York Control Area is 38,902 MWs, type classified as follows: Gas with Oil Back-up 36.9%; Gas 15.7%; Nuclear 13.5%; Hydro 11.0%; Oil 8.5%; Coal 6.1%; Pumped Storage Hydro 3.6%, Wind 3.5%; Refuse 0.7%; Biomass (Wood) 0.1%; Solar 0.1%, and Other 0.2%.
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?
A. Yes, if the facility is excluded because of exemptions (d), (e), (f) or (g) set forth above in the answer to the preceding question, the person intending to construct the major electric generating facility may elect to become subject to the provisions of 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?
A. At the earliest stage of the Article 10 process, applicants are required to prepare and begin implementing a Public Involvement Program. In addition, to ensure that the public and interested parties are fully assisted and advised in participating in the Article 10 process,
an Office of Public Information Coordinator has been created within the New York State Department of Public Service.
Q. Is the public required to participate in the applicant's public involvement activities?
A. It is the Siting Board’s policy to encourage public participation in the review of the applicant’s proposal at the earliest opportunity so that public input can be considered.
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?
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?
A. Applicants are required to identify significant non-English speaking populations and to address the need for non-English communication and participation in their Public Involvement Program plan.
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?
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?
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?
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?
A. "Stipulations" are agreements among parties that concern matters before the Siting Board and are designed to simplify or shorten litigation and save costs. Any parties to the proceeding can enter into a stipulation setting forth an agreement on any aspect of the preliminary scoping statement and the scope of studies or program of studies to be conducted. It is often in the interests of applicants and other parties to agree in advance to the content and methodology for conducting studies that will be submitted as part of the application.
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?
A. The applicant, staff of the Department of Public Service, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Department of State, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and in certain instances, the Adirondack Park Agency.
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?
A. A notice of intent to be a party must be filed with the Secretary to the Siting Board.
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?
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?
Q. What kinds of hearings will be held?
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"?
Q. What are "trial-type evidentiary" hearings?
Q. What is "discovery"?
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?
A. Yes. All proceedings on an application including a final decision by the Siting Board must be completed within 12 months from the date of a determination by the Chairperson that an application complies, except that the Siting Board may extend the deadline in extraordinary circumstances by no more than 6 months in order to give consideration to specific issues necessary to develop an adequate record. The board must render a final decision on the application by the aforementioned deadlines unless the deadlines are waived by the applicant.
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?
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?
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?