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Panepinto looks to just transition funding in wake of Huntley announcement

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Tue, Aug 25th 2015 03:55 pm

Panepinto: "This crucial batch of state funding is critical to preventing further economic loss to the community."

State Sen. Marc Panepinto expressed concern in the wake of NRG Energy's announcement Tuesday that it will shutter the Huntley Station power plant early next year. Located in the Town of Tonawanda, the plant employs 79 and provides millions in PILOT payments to the Kenmore-Tonawanda School District, Town of Tonawanda and Erie County. Under the current PILOT agreement, the entities stand to lose an estimated $6.1 million in revenue.

Following NRG's announcement, Panepinto is calling on his partners in local government in education to take advantage of just transition funding he helped secure at the close of the legislative session. The funding, secured through an application, assists municipalities when coal plants retire.

Panepinto, who helped to secure and deliver $19 million in just transition funding, issued the following statement:

"While I am encouraged by the environmental impact of today's announcement, I am deeply distressed by the ripple effects this will have in our community," he said. "The devastating loss of 79 jobs, coupled with millions in annual PILOT payments, will mean a critical hit to the local tax base. In the short-term, $19 million in just transition funding that I secured will help to ensure financial stability. This crucial batch of state funding is critical to preventing further economic loss to the community. Moving forward, I will continue to work with the town and region to fully fund education and those services vital to our residents."

More than $19 million in just transition funding secured by Panepinto as part of a state delegation would accomplish the following:

•Provide $19,000,000 for a municipality or a school district to assist with sudden changes to the tax base upon closure of a fossil fuel electric generating facility; and

•Provide assistance to any municipality and/or school district faced with a reduction in tax collections and receipts from PILOTS totaling at least 20 percent; or any judicial determination concerning the facility that has caused a reduction in the tax collections and PILOTS of at least 20 percent.

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