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Power authority may add to local economic development

Cheap electricity from the Niagara Power Project may soon provide more support for economic development in Erie and Niagara Counties.

Legislation in the budget hopper in Albany would set aside millions of dollars in profits from much of the electricity produced in Lewiston and put the cash into an economic development fund controlled by Governor Cuomo.

He would appoint three members of the five-member Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board which would run the fund.

"This is huge news for Western New York," said  state Senator George Maziarz who expects the governor to appoint Western New York residents as his board choices.

Maziarz  would make sure someone from Niagara County would be appointed by his house.

"This legislation will create a mechanism to use the revenue that's generated by power sold at the Niagara Power Project for economic development projects within Western New York."

Maziarz says legislation approved last year makes sure cheap local power would be supplied for economic development on a long-term basis, making many projects financially possible.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.