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News stories tagged with "hydropower"

Ethanol-cattle giant eyes St. Lawrence Co.

A bioenergy firm, Bion, that combines ethanol and beef production may want to build a plant in St. Lawrence County. As David Sommerstein reports, the facility would require at least 10,000 cows, making it the largest animal farm in the North Country.  Go to full article

Alcoa Future Uncertain in Massena

The labor unrest comes as Alcoa's future in Massena remains unclear. Alcoa's talks with the New York Power Authority over a new power contract have stalled. The aluminum giant has offered to guarantee 500 to 700 jobs in exchange for locking in some of the lowest electricity rates in the country. That's several hundred fewer than today's employment level of about 1000. The Power Authority is holding out for more jobs. The Power Authority says it's waiting to hear back from Alcoa for talks to continue. Alcoa's Sue LeClair says no meetings are scheduled, but the company is willing to return to the table if progress can be made. David Sommerstein spoke more with Ernie LaBaff about the stand-off. He's president emeritus of the Aluminum, Brick, and Glassworkers Union International.  Go to full article

Gouverneur Man Joins NYPA Board

A North Country native has been appointed to the board of the New York Power Authority. It's the first regional representative on the board in decades. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Strong passions at the task force meeting in Canton
Strong passions at the task force meeting in Canton

Unity Proves Elusive in NYPA Talks

St. Lawrence County leaders and citizens regrouped late last week after what they perceived as a major rebuff by the New York Power Authority. In 2003, they negotiated a settlement of $115 million and several hundred acres of land in exchange for the county's role in power production on the St. Lawrence River. But last month, Governor Pataki announced Western New York stood to get almost a billion dollars for the Niagara River power project. Many in St. Lawrence County felt cheated. At a meeting in Canton, state representatives urged calm. People preached teamwork. But what was billed as a planning session for the future became a rehashing of the past. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
The St. Lawrence River near Waddington before it was dammed.
The St. Lawrence River near Waddington before it was dammed.

Shoe Drops on River Lands

Two years ago, the New York Power Authority got a new 50-year license to operate the hydropower dam on the St. Lawrence River. One condition of the license renewal was that NYPA return 1,500 acres of once-private land to local hands. Much of it will go to the villages and towns in St. Lawrence County affected by the power project. But some was to be transferred to property owners who live along the river. The state Attorney General recently ruled that's unconstitutional, and that the land should be sold at fair market value. As David Sommerstein reports, many local residents feared something like this would happen.  Go to full article

River Groups Hope Water Level Plan Isn't Status Quo

A binational agency is holding its final public meetings this week over new plans to control water levels on Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River. It's the first time the system is under review since the St. Lawrence was dammed in the 1950s. River residents are getting worried the 5-year, $25 million project may amount to nothing new. David Sommerstein explains why.  Go to full article
Karen Lago on Cobb Shoal, where cattails dominate due to less water fluctuation.
Karen Lago on Cobb Shoal, where cattails dominate due to less water fluctuation.

People Plan for Future of Mighty River

The U.S. and Canadian governments are revisiting how they control water in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for the first time since the 1950s. The International Joint Commission has spent five years and $25 million studying how different water levels at different times of the year affect everything from wetlands and beaches to shoreline docks and Seaway ships. The IJC is shopping around three new water level plans at public meetings around the region. As David Sommerstein reports, most people in the North Country favor one of them, but their voices may be drowned out by larger population centers elsewhere.  Go to full article

Lawmakers Agree on Hydropower Allocation

North Country lawmakers have been at odds over how to retain low-cost power produced at the hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence River. On Tuesday they reached an agreement. Legislative leaders in Albany announced a bill that would keep the cheap electricity in Jefferson, St. Lawrence, and Franklin counties. David Sommerstein has details.  Go to full article

Power Dam Politics: When David Meets Goliath

David Sommerstein talks with Massena attorney Tom Snider about his new book, Power Dam Politics. It's Snider's take on the negotiations to relicense the New York Power Authority's massive hydropower project on the St. Lawrence River.  Go to full article

Hope For Alcoa East?

State and local lawmakers are hopeful after a meeting Monday with Alcoa officials and the New York Power Authority to find ways to cut costs at Alcoa's East plant in Massena. Alcoa has told plant officials to cut $23 million from next year's budget, which could endanger the jobs of more than 125 workers. David Sommerstein talks with Ken McDonnell, mayor of the village of Massena, about the challenges the plant faces.  Go to full article

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