Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) on Monday gave high praise to the Chautauqua County community on its efforts to keep NRG open and operational in Dunkirk.
Sunday’s announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo that NRG will repower with natural gas was met with praise from Reed, along with local and state officials and Chautauqua County residents who all added their voice in support of the repowering initiative.
Reed said that while his office was busy working with other officials in trying to get permission to have the project move forward, he added that the real credit should go to the local community.
“The largest tip of the hat needs to go to the local community,” Reed said on Monday. “I will tell you that Chautauqua County residents came out in droves. They came to public hearings. They had their voice heard because they were speaking in a loud, united, concise message and position to the governor’s office and to the PSC and to National Grid and NRG themselves, to say that we are going to fight for that facility and keep it open.”
The approval of the NRG project means the plant in Dunkirk will become, without a doubt, the single largest consumer of natural gas in Chautauqua County, if not all of Western New York. That will lead to an increased demand for natural gas, a resource that is abundant in the eastern side of Reed’s 23rd Congressional District. However, getting to the gas is currently difficult because of a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
WRFA asked Congressman Reed if he thought the state’s approval of the NRG conversion project signals its willingness to lift the moratorium. Reed said he’s obviously in support of lifting the moratorium and allowing horizontal hydro-fracking to take place in the state, but the final decision will be up to the governor and his administration.
However Reed also noted that the governor has pledged to make a decision before the November elections and he hopes he sticks to his promise. “I’m going to hold him accountable to that because we’re going on six years for a government agency in New York State to make a decision on where to go on this issue. You need leadership in America today and leadership means you have to make a decision one way or the other. Six years is ample time to make a decision one way or the other.”
Reed has said that he is committed to helping to deliver a manufacturing renaissance to his district and the rest of Western New York. He’s said that that one of the main components for that to take place is reliable, affordable power – which the NRG Plant in Dunkirk will be able to provide.