NYS Public Service Commission in the Pocket of Corporatists
07-15-2012, 08:03 AM
NYS Public Service Commission in the Pocket of Corporatists
The corporatist culture of lobbyist Jack Abramoff is alive not only on K Street, but in the offices of the New York State Public Service Commission. The long awaited report on the rules for electric generation siting demonstrates that the industrial wind lobby is on speed dial to the agency tasked to regulate their power facilities. In the new gilded age of robber barons, the "public servants" at the PSC earn their stripes as capitalist tool lackeys. Damn the public interest, the expedited approval of projects is guaranteed. Money influence trumps sound science, property rights, municipal home rule and health & safety.
After submitting exhausting documentation and constructive comments that urged minimum industry manufacturers own standards, protective noise restrictions and siting distances to ensure the public health and safety, and meaningful citizen participation involvement in permitting approval; the permanent Siting Board for Article X ignored all improvements to their draft regulations.
The net result is that the industrial wind cabal gets carte blanche from New York State to defraud the taxpayers, pillage the electric ratepayers and run roughshod over the reasoned objections of local officials.
One example of interjecting public input into the approval process was the proposal to institute a citizen advisory panel. Electric Power Generation under NYS Article X provides the details for a balanced approach to unbridled and indiscriminate corporate domination of land use development.
CASE 12-F-0036 – DRAFT DISCUSSION DOCUMENT, JULY 2012 SITING BOARD MEETING (no longer available on the PSC web site), rejects a partnership approach to safeguard the public interest.
Public Health and Safety – input from Citizen Power Alliance
One individual asserts that a citizens advisory panel should be made a component of Article 10 because it would establish an equitable balance of interests through citizen participation to offset a bias in favor of developers due to fast-tracking under Article 10. The individual also requests that the regulations do more to protect the health and safety of citizens by requiring conformance with manufacturers’ safety standards. (page 50)
We do not adopt the recommendation to create a citizens advisory panel as part of the Article 10 process, because the statute and these proposed regulations already provide for extensive citizen input, through such measures as the ad hoc members of the Siting Board, the public involvement plan, and the provision of intervenor funding to aid the participation of local resident parties. (page 51)
Caps on Noise Levels – input from wind industry and DEC noise regulation
An engineering consultant firm (for wind developers) asserted that a 50 dBA sound level limit is consistent with limiting sound level increases in a high quality rural sound environment that is very quiet to an increase of no more than 6 dBA. In response, a municipality challenges that assertion by pointing out that if the preexisting sound level in a community at night, when wind farms operate, is 30 dBA, a 50 dBA sound level limit will obviously drive some people out of the area and/or discourage others from moving in. Several individuals arguing for caps on noise levels support a cap of 35 dBA measured at non-participating property lines, and incremental increases up to the cap of no more than 6 dBA. (page 54)
The disagreement described above lends support to the case by case approach in the proposed regulations. We have reviewed the comments and do not believe that any change is warranted. (page 56)
The lack of will, by the PSC, to establish substantive standards for siting of projects illustrates the cozy relationship the regulator has with the wind industry. Ignoring current noise restrictions by superseding the existing DEC noise regulation is definitive proof that wind developers dominate energy policy in New York State. The only case by case relevance applies in permitting approval will now be applied by permanent agency heads who comprise the majority on the Siting Board for Article X applications.
The insignificant allocation for intervening funding and the short time allowed for local town notification, effectively nullifies challenging the application in court. The insult that two ad hoc representative will be allowed to be lectured by the five permanent agency head masters demonstrates just how far the constitutional principle of Home Rule has dissipated in the empire state.
Any wonder that a sense of disgust strikes the sensibilities when the out of control wind turbines blow by the landscape as Robert De Niro pitches for crony cartel capitalists. The Daily News reports the following.
The $12 million TV campaign will run nationally and statewide for eight weeks.
The commercials address the state’s anti-business reputation and show success stories in different parts of the state designed to illustrate how things are changing.
No sensible person advocates an anti-business environment. However, promoting a destructive business industry with public funds is the definitive opposite of a success story. An axis of facilitation and favoritism exists within the bureaucratic agencies that effectively ignore the directions of legislation, and ultimately write preferential rules for preferred developers.
Hidden within the layers of public documents is CASE 12-F-0036.
CHAPTER X CERTIFICATION OF MAJOR ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITIES SUBCHAPTER A REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING ARTICLE 10 OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE LAW AS ENACTED BY CHAPTER 388, Section 12, OF THE LAWS OF 2011
1000.4 Public Involvement
CHAPTER X CERTIFICATION OF MAJOR ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITIES SUBCHAPTER A REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING ARTICLE 10
(b) 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 DPS. Public information coordination shall include:
(1) implementing measures that assure public participation in matters before the Board;
(2) responding to inquiries from the public for information on how to participate in matters before the Board;
(3) assisting the public in requesting records relating to matters before the Board;
(4) ensuring all interested persons are provided with a reasonable opportunity to participate at public meetings relating to matters before the Board;
(5) ensuring that all necessary or required documents are available for public access on the DPS website; and
(6) any other duties as may be prescribed by the Board, after consultation with DPS.
While the establishment of a public information coordinator sounds positive, the reality of the approval process boils down to the five permanent department heads that make the final decision. The regretful manner, comments and decisions made by the PSC staff in writing the Article X regulations is a textbook lesson in how to advance the interests of an economically defective industry.
As with many if not most bureaucratic functions, careerist lawyers decide the actual procedures and regulations. It is one thing to write the language of the ordinance, but is entirely beyond the scope and authority of an attorney culture to act as if the developer is their client. Overreaching administrators often circumvent their role. In this case, the fundamental health and safety safeguards that are essentially the basis for challenging inadequate siting practices go unprotected.
The inevitable conclusion is that the same staffers, who are entrusted to carry out the intentions of the legislation, have totally abdicated their responsibility to protect the public from harmful development.
Any lobbyists would do a jig to have their client’s interests represented in sheer mercantile terms. The attitude manifested in these regulations is much worse in their most current version from the vague and incomplete drafts used prior to the public comment and input period.
The corporatist economy is the manifestation of the evil axis of state partnership with shadow financial entities. The wind industry is notorious for their foreign ownership. Now it can be correctly said, that the tentacles of this octopus reach under the rock where the regulators reside.
Industry wind exists because of the production tax credits. Why would any state government or regulatory agency advance the use of an unreliable electric generation method if it were not in the political interests of crony careerists?
This is but one example of an entrenched pattern of facilitation that condemns the public interest while lining the pockets of vulgar predators. These companies have the skill and money to hire connected lobbyists that play the regulation agencies like a concert pianist. When your audience consists of administrators, legally trained in the art of disingenuousness, the outcome becomes a recital for a failed energy policy.
While direct links of systemic corruption are concealed under the weight of the filing volume, the culture of regulatory bias that shields the financial interests of the corporatist is unmistakable. Several county governments have gone on record with resolutions against Article X. Yet the PSC is willing to strip effective home rule authority with the misguided claim that local representatives will be part of the process.
When the majority on the Siting Board is nothing but a rubber stamp for their corporate friends, regulator review becomes a sham. Citizens can shout long and loud, and comments are filed in the record, but when the dust settles, the developer gets their way. Someone needs to tell De Niro he is acting as the mouthpiece for a criminal syndicate.
SARTRE – July 15, 2012
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