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For Immediate Release: September 16, 2022

Keith P. McKeever | keith.mckeever@apa.ny.gov 
Public Information Officer | Adirondack Park Agency | Press Office | (518) 891-4050

September 2022 Agency Meeting Highlights

Ray Brook, NY - The Adirondack Park Agency Board approved two projects and determined proposed best management practices to control invasive species on New York State Department of Environmental Conservation administered lands inside the Adirondack Park conformed to the State Land Master Plan at its September 15th, 2022 meeting.

The Agency Board unanimously approved a proposed 20-megawatt solar generation facility to be constructed on underutilized portions of Benson Mines, Inc.’s land in the Town of Clifton, St. Lawrence County. The project was submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) as the first Build-Ready Program project in New York State. Under the 2020 Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, NYSERDA established a Clean Energy Resources Development and Incentives “Build-Ready” Program to encourage expedient siting of renewable energy facilities in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner.

The approved BR Benson Mines Solar Facility project will be located on lands along State Route 3, near the intersection with County Route 60/Benson Mines Road in the Town of Clifton. The project will consist of a 20-megawatt alternating current solar photovoltaic array system, sited on a tailings pile from the iron ore mine that was closed in the 1970's, located south of State Route 3. It will connect to the electric grid via the Star Lake Substation located close by, north of State Route 3.

The construction and operation of the project is consistent with New York State energy policies, including the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act targets, the long-range energy planning objectives and strategies contained in the 2015 State Energy Plan, and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, and related policies. Once constructed, the facility will contribute directly to New York State’s renewable energy goals and will safely generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power over 4,000 New York households.

APA Chair John Ernst said, “The Adirondack Park Agency is excited to work with our State Agency partner NYSERDA and local officials from St. Lawrence County to help repurpose portions of this industrial site into a productive clean energy facility that will bring good jobs to the region, generate clean energy, and contribute to the State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. I commend our staff for their diligent review to help advance this critically important project, NYSERDA’s first project under their Build Ready program in the state, while ensuring the unique natural resources of the Adirondack Park are protected.”

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “NYSERDA is pleased to see the APA’s approval of New York’s first Build-Ready project, a 20-megawatt revenue-generating solar project that will be located on underutilized portions of Benson Mines. As we prepare for this site’s competitive sale later this year, this significant permitting milestone shows progress in the State’s ability to successfully identify and develop industrial sites such as this to advance renewable energy projects responsibly and in a timely manner.”

The project was well designed and sited to ensure limited tree clearing will occur with the majority of vegetative removal undertaken on the tailings pile. Additionally, permit conditions require that trees will also be retained between State Route 3 and the solar array to provide visual screening. The facility as designed and permitted avoids wetlands and ensures no undue adverse negative impacts occur to the other natural resources present on site.

The Board also determined that proposed Inter-Agency Guidelines for Best Management Practices to Control Invasive Species on Department of Environmental Conservation Administered Lands of the Adirondack Park conformed to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The goal of these guidelines is to enhance protection of and to efficiently restore native ecological communities on DEC-administered lands through early detection and rapid response efforts that address existing or newly identified invasive species infestations. In addition, the guidelines will streamline management of established invasive species populations which cause or may cause negative impacts to the immediate and surrounding ecosystems.

“These best management practice guidelines are a critical tool to support DEC and its authorized agents in their efforts to combat invasive species inside the Adirondack Park”, said APA Chair John Ernst. “The removal and control of invasive species reduces the potential for destruction and harm to New York’s environment, economy, and human health. We thank the DEC and every organization and citizen that works so hard to manage these destructive invasives.”

To learn more about other presentations and actions undertaken by the Agency Board at the September meeting please watch the recorded webcast by clicking Archived Videos of Agency Meetings found under News & Activities on the APA website www.apa.ny.gov.

To review and download meeting materials related to Agency Board actions please click the Archive of Agency Meeting Materials also found under News & Activities on www.apa.ny.gov