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Part V: Selling our souls for a dime

The New York Power Authority is cheating us

By Frank Parlato Jr.

21 April, 2006

Niagara Falls, for instance, has gotten $500,000 from NYPA as a signing bonus this November. Like beggars starving for a morsel, Niagara Falls needs $500,000 desperately.  The devil said, “We have this little clause here-- you have to support our 50 years- to get your money.  After all, you haven’t had hydro- power – the soul of the region -these last 50 years. You won’t miss it the next 50 years. But 500k, that’s something real.

By the way, to understand how these things work, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently approved a new 50-year license for NYPA to continue operating the St. Lawrence Power Project.

To get the renewal, NYPA got ten “stakeholder” towns and school districts in St. Lawrence County to agree to divide up two million per year. Other squeaky wheel pittances went to parks, and millions went to studies to placate environmental groups and enrich favored consultants.

NYPA gave money to study nesting platforms for osprey and loons (not the human kind) and grassland nesting for sandpipers. The locals don’t get cheaper power –as do seven other states from their dam- but they get studies about eel migration.

NYPA gives $200,000 to host communities, and their unsophisticated politicians are paraded out for quotes:

“I want to congratulate … Governor Pataki (for) getting the job done right,” said Lisbon Town Supervisor Roger Watters in a press release.

“I am extremely pleased the Power Authority has received its license,” said state Sen. Jim Wright. “This will benefit the North Country economy.”

NYPA’s new license “provides long-term stability to the North Country’s economic engine,” said Massena Village Mayor Ken MacDonnell.

In Niagara, NYPA is moving fast to take care of squeaky wheel environmentalists. The Greenway Commission — charged with creating a study for an interconnected system of parks along the Niagara — hired Joanne Willmott, who is, ironically, NYPA’s Regional Manager of Community Relations to be chairman.

NYPA still needs Buffalo, Erie County and the Tuscarora Nation- who during the original licensing of the Niagara Project fought hard to prevent the takeover of their land. It also needs an apathetic people to remain quiet or act pleased with the pittances already offered.


When the original takeover by NYPA was affected, and the Niagara Power Plant completed, NYPA Chairman, Robert Moses said, “We have learned an ancient truth—that men of good will working together are unbeatable.”

And speaking of truths let me tell you an Aesop fable:

An apple orchard was beside a cow pasture, and the rains came and washed both the apples and the cow turds into the river. As they were going downstream together, the turds were heard to exclaim, “my, how we apples can swim.”

The moral is “don’t let the Albany turds steal our apples once again.


Copyright © Frank Parlato Jr.