Niagara County officials, state leaders, and members of the grassroots Americans for Prosperity organization will host a joint press conference in the shadow of the AES Somerset coal-fired power plant Tuesday, opposing a "cap-and-trade" scheme entered into by former Gov. George Pataki and six New England states.
The press conference will focus on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade scheme that massively increased taxes on power produced by coal-fired power plants. With 17 such plants in New York, including the AES Somerset facility, and nearly all of those plants located upstate, the adverse impact of the RGGI on local economies is substantial - particularly if a plant is shuttered, eliminating jobs and local tax revenue.
AES Somerset was idled for the first time in its history last year, due primarily to the cost burden of regulations and tax policies.
Local leaders, including County Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, and Town Councilman Dan Engert, R-Somerset, will be joined by state representatives including State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane; Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Somerset; and Steve Lonegan, state director of Americans for Prosperity's New Jersey chapter and former candidate for governor of New Jersey. Participants will discuss the impact of RGGI on communities like Somerset and urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reverse his predecessors' unilateral entry into the RGGI scheme.