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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Cuomo urged to extend comment period on 'fracking'

ALBANY -- State Sen. Mark A. Grisanti, R-Buffalo, chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, joined with environmental groups Monday in urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and State Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens to extend the 60-day comment period on proposed state guidelines on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to 180 days.

"With such a major economic and environmental opportunity before us," Grisanti said, "it is imperative that we allow the public to be heard as we move forward with the recommendations."

In all, 76 groups released a letter Monday to the governor and Martens calling for the 180-day comment period, plus public hearings in Western New York and the Hudson Valley.

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Orangeville supervisor announces wind farm deal

ORANGEVILLE -- This Wyoming County town will receive $667,000 annually for 20 years as the host community of a 59-turbine wind farm, the town supervisor announced.

The Host Community Agreement for Stony Creek Wind Farm was approved last week by the Town Board, according to Supervisor Susan May. It includes an escalation clause that stipulates the project's annual payment to the town will increase, based on the annual rate of inflation.

Stony Creek Energy plans to erect 59 wind turbines, with a capacity of 1.6 megawatts each. Construction has yet to begin. The developer also will pay an estimated $750,000 for the reconstruction of 7.5 miles of town roads and subsurface repairs after the project is built.

Under a proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes -- or PILOT -- agreement with the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency, the town also will receive $35,000 annually.

The PILOT payments of more than $120,000 a year also would be divided among the Warsaw and Attica school districts and Wyoming County.

"The economic benefits of the proposed project are significant, and, in fact, this proposed project is the largest economic development project in the town's history," May said.

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Panel studying merger of city, town sets first public meeting

BATAVIA -- The Batavia Joint Charter Commission task force charged with drafting a proposal to merge the city and Town of Batavia will hold its first public meeting at at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 in Town Hall.

The eight-member committee, with two alternates, chose Chad Zambito, a former vice president of the Genesee Economic Development Center, as its chairman, and Chad Bachorski as vice chairman.

The group includes five city residents and five town residents.

The task force, financed with a $50,000 state grant, also will choose a consultant after having interviewed four law firms.

The timetable for the proposed merger -- now a year behind schedule -- must be approved by the City Council and Town Board and would go to the voters in November 2012.

It must be approved by both municipalities to take effect.