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  • Losing Power: Siting Power Plants in New York State

    Electricity powers our everyday lives, but many people never contemplate the source of this power. Only when there is a proposal to build a power plant do ordinary citizens seriously consider where and how electricity is produced. Many times local residents oppose the siting of an electricity generating facility in their area. People oppose “dirty” fossil fuel-burning plants as well as “clean” facilities such as hydro-electric dams and wind turbines. This opposition is one example of a phenomenon often referred to as “Not-in-My-Backyard” (NIMBY). NIMBY can lead to long, drawn-out fights over whether to build proposed projects such as residential developments or power plants. In an effort to avoid the effects of NIMBY, New York enacted a new Article X to the Public Service Law in 1992. This enactment set out to provide a statewide environmental review and permitting process which, among other things, preempted local land use laws in order to ensure that New Yorkers had an adequate supply of electricity. However, Article X expired seven years ago and efforts to renew the law have failed repeatedly.