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Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation - Interim Decision, September 25, 1996

Interim Decision, September 25, 1996

STATE OF NEW YORK : DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12233-1550

In the Matter of the Application of the NIAGARA MOHAWK POWER CORPORATION for .401 Water Quality Certifications for the E.J. West and Hudson River Hydroelectric Projects

DEC No. 5-4136-00016/0001-9 (E.J. West)
and
DEC No. 5-4100-00019/00001-9 (Hudson River)

INTERIM DECISION

September 25, 1996.

INTERIM DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER

The County of Saratoga ("County") appeals pursuant to 6 NYCRR .624.8(d) from an August 12, 1996 ruling of Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Kevin Casutto. ALJ Casutto denied without prejudice to renewal three motions for party status by the County and two other parties in two water quality certificate proceedings related to relicensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") of Niagara Mohawk's E.J. West and Hudson River hydroelectric projects.

I am denying the appeal. The ALJ's ruling will not be disturbed. As the ALJ's ruling notes, these water quality certificate proceedings and those with which they are consolidated are on a settlement track. The County has been participating in the settlement discussions. As far as the settlement negotiations are concerned, the County's rights and opportunity to participate in the settlement discussions are unimpaired by its non-party status in the nascent adjudicatory hearing process. However, as the ALJ's ruling provides, in the event a settlement is not reached, the County, as well as the other two movants who did not join in this appeal, will be afforded an opportunity to renew their motions for party status. Unless otherwise directed by the ALJ, such motions would be made at a resumed session of the issues conference, now recessed pending the outcome of settlement talks. At any such session, the County would need to come forward with an offer of proof on one or more substantive and significant issues for adjudication (See 6 NYCRR .624.4(c), .624.5(b)). Generalized conclusions or assertions are not sufficient to warrant a ruling granting party status. See, In the Matter of Akzo Nobel Salt, et al., Interim Decision of the Commissioner, January 31, 1996.

For the foregoing reasons, the County's August 26, 1996 appeal is denied.

For the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
/s/
By: Michael D. Zagata,
Commissioner

Albany, New York
September 25, 1996

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