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Hochul honors Niagara Power Project for 50 years of service

By Michael Mroziak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-983324.mp3

Lewiston, NY – It's been 50 years since the New York Power Authority built and opened the Niagara Power Project. On Wednesday, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul appeared at the Power Vista to tour the facilities and mark its 50th anniversary with a proclamation presented to the staff.

"When you go through and see the map of all the geographic area, how this expands all the way from the intake along the river to all the way up to Lewiston, people were masterminds to come up with this and an opportunity to get lower cost energy for our businesses and our homes here," said Hochul. "Looking back 50 years, we can only applaud their ingenuity and the legacy that's been left here for us."

According to the New York Power Authority's website, people have been utilizing the Niagara River for power as far back as the late 1700s, when water was used to power a local sawmill. The Niagara Power Project, opened 50 years ago, came about as the replacement for the Schoelkopf power plant, which was destroyed in a rockslide in 1956.

The Niagara Power Project now serves customers including more than 131 companies on the Niagara Frontier, and more business and residential customers in seven neighboring states. It employs 325 people for what the New York Power Authority estimates is an annual $80 million economic impact.

Hochul also noted that the Niagara Power Project has been a source of energy long before it became trendy to "think green."

"Utilizing a natural resource to generate power was visionary," said Hochul. "That's the kind of thinking we need to continue going forward as we set our nation's energy policies, to get back to using natural resources, and in my judgement diminishing our reliance on foreign oil because that gets us into situations that I don't think we should be in."