cpp_powerlines120The petition to repower the Cayuga Power Plant got off to an encouraging start in its first week with estimates of over 700 signatures.  Town Councilman Ed LaVigne says that as the word gets out more people are showing their support for repowering the plant.  In addition LaVigne and other Lansing officials are planning a visit to Albany Monday to lobby for keeping the plant open.  He stresses that natural gas is an interim solution that will give greener energy time to develop while saving the Lansing economy.

"If the electricity isn't produced here it will come from someplace else," LaVigne says.  "That source might be from a plant in Ohio that burns coal.  So what have we really accomplished?  Are we really burning something that is a cleaner fuel?"

The petition was initiated by Lansing's representative to the Tompkins County Legislature, Mike Sigler.  Sigler and LaVigne have been promoting the petition with large signs strategically placed around town, as well as frequent postings on Facebook.  About ten people have been going door to door around the county, collecting signatures.  Copies may be signed at the Lansing Community Library and the Lansing Town Hall, and will be provided at the Lansing Lion's Club breakfast this Sunday.  An on-line version went live February 25th, and as of this writing had collected 400 signatures.  LaVigne says that you have to be 18 or older to sign, but you do not have to live in Lansing.

Congressman Tom Reed, New York State Senator Mike Nozzolio, Sigler and Town Supervisor Kathy Miller have all said that opposition from neighboring municipalities hurts the Lansing plant's chances of being repowered.  All have pointed to overwhelming community support for the Dunkirk power plant being repowered that led to Governor Cuomo supporting that project, and say it is critical that supporters here tell the PSC and the Governor they do not want the plant to close.

LaVigne and Lansing Supervisor Kathy Miller are inviting County Legislator Mike Sigler and school district officials to join them Monday when they go to Albany to lobby PSC and Governor's office officials to support the repowering plan.  They made plans for the trip at a Town Board working meeting Wednesday.

"We got two names from the PSC," Miller said.  "I asked Senator Nozzolio's office if there is anybody else we should talk to.  But this really isn't in the hands of the Legislature.  It's in the hands of the PSC."

Opponents have fiercely advocated shutting down the plant or repowering it with alternatives that the state Public Service Commission is not considering.  LaVigne says that an all-or-nothing approach will really harm Lansing.

"It's the philosophy as opposed to the reality," he says.  "The philosophy is about concepts, but the reality is about people.  At the end of the day it's the people that are left.  We all talk about theories... and in theory chickens should fly. But the reality is that they don't.  We have to deal with what is happening, not what we hope will happen.

"This power plant is critical for us to sustain and improve out living standard in this area.  Without reliable power we cannot continue to develop.  We cannot continue to increase the assessed values of our businesses, which take the burden off of the taxpayers."