What is Article 10?
New York State requires that major electric generation facilities (25 megawatts or more), including solar projects, undergo a rigorous state permitting process, under Public Service Law Article 10, prior to construction and operation. The Article 10 process requires the study of the environmental, public health, and public safety impacts, as well as the incorporation of extensive public input and local stakeholder engagement into the development, design, and construction of solar energy projects.
Article 10 requires the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (Siting Board) to issue a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) authorizing the construction and operation of major electric generating facilities. The Siting Board consists of five permanent members and two project-specific local ad hoc members who are appointed specifically to provide a local voice in each proceeding. The New York State Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the New York State Assembly each appoint one ad hoc member from a list of candidates submitted by the Towns of Sheldon and Bennington and by Wyoming County.
For more information on the Article 10 process, visit the New York State Department of Public Service’s Siting Board home page.
Interested parties and members of the public can access all public documents and can post comments about specific projects throughout the application process electronically on the New York State Department of Public Service’s Document Matter Manager (DMM) system. The DMM also provides a way for interested parties to join the “Service List”, which sends automated email alerts when filings are made.
5 Stages of the Article 10 process
Applicants must file a Public Involvement Program (PIP) Plan, which summarizes all actions the Applicant commits to take to involve the public, 150 days before filing a Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS). The PSS is filed 90 days prior to filing an application. The PSS must be provided to state and municipal agencies, state and local officials, and local libraries. A notice summarizing the PSS must also be placed in newspapers. The major components of a PSS include:
- Proposed facility and environmental setting
- Potential significant, adverse environmental and health impacts
- Visual simulations showing potential visual impacts
- Proposed studies to evaluate potential impacts
- Measures to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts
- Reasonable alternatives
- Information and plans for decommissioning
- Socioeconomic impact studies
- State and Federal requirements
Once the PSS is submitted, circulated and properly noticed, and after at least half of the intervenor funds (process outlined below) have been awarded, consultation begins with interested parties on the methodology and scope of impact studies. There is a 21-day period for the public to comment on the PSS, and the applicant has 21 days to respond to all comments received.
To learn more about the pre-application phase, please click here to read Section 1000.5 “Pre-Application Procedures” of the State of New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and The Environment Article 10 Regulations.
No less than 90 days after filing the PSS, the project application can be filed with the Siting Board. Once filed, the application is provided to state and municipal agencies, state and local officials, interested parties, and local libraries for general public review. Among other items, the application must include:
- Project description
- Summary of public involvement activity
- Evaluation of reasonable and available alternative locations
- Evaluation of expected environmental and health impacts
- Evaluation of environmental justice issues
- Facility and community security and safety plans
To learn more about the application, please click here to read Section 1001 “Content of An Application” of the State Of New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment Article 10 Regulations.
3. Administrative Hearings
Within 60 days of the filing of the Application, the Siting Board must determine whether the application complies with all filing requirements. Once the application is deemed complete, the Siting Board will schedule a public hearing. A pre-hearing conference will also be set to identify intervenors, award intervenor funds, identify issues for hearing, and establish a case schedule.
4. Siting Board Decision
The Siting Board must make a decision on the application within 12 months of when the application is determined to be complete. In making its final decision, the Siting Board will consider impacts to:
- Land use
- Statewide electrical capacity and energy policies
- Ecology, air, ground and surface water, wildlife and habitat
- Cultural, historical, and recreational resources
- Communications, transportation, and utilities
The Siting Board must also determine that the facility is a “beneficial addition or substitute for” generation capacity, that the project is in the public interest, that adverse environmental effects will be minimized or avoided, and that the project is in compliance with state laws and regulations.
Once the project is certified, there is a three-part compliance phase:
- Pre-Construction – filing of engineering and design documents, permits, and approvals prior to construction
- On-Site Compliance – on-site inspections by state agency personnel after construction begins to ensure the project is complying with the Certificate
- Long-Term Compliance – on-site inspections regarding the operation of the facility over its lifetime
ConnectGen will be required to provide funds to be disbursed by the Siting Board to intervenors – qualified, locally affected parties and municipalities – to offset certain expenses they incur in participating in the Article 10 process. This requirement was put in place to encourage early and effective public involvement.
Following the PSS filing, the Hearing Examiner will issue a notice of availability of pre-application intervenor funds. Initial requests for funding must be submitted within 30 days of the notice. Eligible municipal and local parties may file requests for funds with the Secretary of the Siting Board, submitting a copy to the Presiding Examiner and other parties to the proceeding. A pre-application meeting will occur between 45 and 60 days after the filing of the PSS, and funds will be disbursed to parties if it is determined that the funds will be used to contribute to a complete record leading to an informed decision.
Once the application is submitted, an additional amount of intervenor funding will be made available for parties to participate in the Application and Hearings phases of the Article 10 process. The Hearing Examiner will set a deadline for parties to request money and will hold a pre-hearing conference to discuss requests and award funds.
By law, 50 percent of the intervenor funds are reserved for use by municipalities.
Public Documents and Information
Stakeholder involvement and consultation are part of an ongoing, evolving process throughout all phases of the Article 10 review process. ConnectGen’s goal is to provide information to stakeholders, understand stakeholder interests, identify any additional stakeholders potentially affected by the Big Tree Solar Project, solicit information from stakeholders during public outreach events and generally foster public participation in the Article 10 review process.
You may access all documents electronically through the links above and on the New York State Department of Public Service’s Document Matter Manager (DMM) system, or you may access hard copies of the documents at one of the following locations:
Town of Sheldon Town Clerk’s Office
Town of Bennington Town Clerk’s Office
Stevens Memorial Community Library
Aurora Town Library
Marilla Free Library
The Public Involvement Program Plan (PIP) is the first document drafted as part of the Big Tree Solar Project’s progress through the Article 10 Application process. The PIP identifies the Big Tree Solar Project’s stakeholders, the methods by which stakeholders will be notified and consulted throughout the Article 10 process, and activities ConnectGen will engage in to encourage stakeholder participation.
Please note: as additional documents are filed, this section will be updated.
The State of New York has an office within the Department of Public Service, the Public Information Coordinator, to advise and assist interested parties and members of the public on participation in the Article 10 process.
To reach the Public Information Coordinator, please contact:
Phone: (518) 474-7080
NYS Department of Public Service
3 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223
To provide comments on a specific case, please contact the Secretary of the Siting Board:
Kathleen H. Burgess
3 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223-1350
To phone the Opinion Line and leave a comment, please call (800) 355-2120.
Additionally, interested parties and members of the public can post comments about specific projects through the DMM throughout the application process. The DMM also provides a way for interested parties to join the “Service List”, which sends automated email alerts when filings are made.
To stay up to date about the Big Tree Solar Project, please join our stakeholder notification list by filling out the contact form here. You can also call us at (800) 338-8916 or email email@example.com