Chamber Corner

Chamber/MAST strongly supports NRG repowering

By TODD TRANUM

President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier strongly support a repowering proposal by NRG for the Dunkirk power plant. Our position on this issue has not changed, even in the wake of a recent position taken by the Business Council of New York State, which has pitted the NRG proposal against a plan offered by National Grid in a filing with the state Public Service Commission.

NRG continues to do its homework on this issue. Turning the NRG facility from an old-technology coal plant to a cleaner natural gas plant not only constitutes an environmental improvement, it also maintains employment at the plant and a substantial portion of the tax base in Dunkirk and Chautauqua County. There are broader-reaching implications, as well. Continued operation of the NRG plant would pump more electrical power onto the grid to serve not only Western New York, but all of New York State. The fact is that the NRG repowering project would be a $1-billion investment in Western New York. That type of investment does not often come along in our region, and it deserves the support of everyone who is interested in economic development and growth in this part of the state.

We are extremely disappointed that the Business Council chose to pit these two power-producing entities against one another before the Public Service Commission. There is room for both utilities to improve their production and distribution systems and make meaningful contributions to the power grid. The Business Council has said it is willing to “clarify” its position for the PSC. At the time of this writing, we are waiting to learn the details of that clarification.

We sincerely appreciate all of the work of Senator Cathy Young, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, Senator George Maziarz and Senator Mike Nozziolo and County Executive Greg Edwards for their continued hard work on the Power Up Project. Fortunately, because of their efforts, the PSC must now consider the economic impact on a community when it makes a determination. The truth is that shutting down the NRG plant would have a substantial negative economic impact in Chautauqua County, while repowering it would have a positive impact. We will continue to make that case and to work with our elected officials on this issue.

Great Lakes Experience Festival June 15

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is proud to help sponsor the Great Lakes Experience Festival, Saturday, June 15 at Memorial Park in Dunkirk. This festival will focus on the environment and ecology of the Great Lakes and the heritage of our region. It will be held from 11 a.m. 5 p.m. There will be music, family entertainment, environmental exhibitors, food vendors, and lots of information about the habitat, science, recreation, and tourism opportunities on the Great Lakes. Additional sponsors are the City of Dunkirk, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, SUNY Fredonia, Star Media Group, and the Paper Factory.

Experience Chautauqua aboard the Summer Wind

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with Summer Wind Cruises to present its next Experience Chautauqua Networking event, in a special extended evening cruise on Chautauqua Lake. The cruise is set for 5-8 p.m. Thursday, June 20. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. at the ship’s dock adjacent to the Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, and the ship will sail at 5:00. All attendees should plan to remain for the entire three hour cruise as the Summer Wind will not return to dock prior to 8 p.m.

This delightful evening is sponsored for Chamber members by Affinity One Federal Credit Union, Blackstone Ney Ultrasonics, Jamestown Jammers Baseball, KeyBank, and Univera Healthcare Southern Tier. The cost is just $8 for pre-registered guests, or $10 for walk-ins at the dock. Register now to be assured of a place, as seating is limited on the ship. You can register online at www.chautauquachamber.org, or call the Chamber at 484-1101 or 366-6200.

Chamber Golf Tournament August 15

The 2013 Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament will be held Thursday, August 15 at Peek’n Peak. This year’s event offers golfers a chance to play on the Peek’s Upper Course a championship – caliber course which offers optimum playing conditions in a spectacular setting. In addition, each team can choose whether they want to play a scramble or a two best ball format this year.

The Chamber Golf Tournament is being sponsored this year by DFT Communications, Community Bank NA, Cummins, Inc., Fredonia Place, GHD Consulting Engineers, Greater Woodlawn FCU, Lake Shore Savings Bank, Lawley-Tradition LLC, National Fuel Gas, Ed Shults Chevrolet, Inc., the OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal. For more information or to register, visit the Chamber’s website at www.chautauquachamber.org, or call 484-1101 or 366-6200.