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Town of Tonawanda to seek control of Huntley plant through eminent domain

The Town of Tonawanda plans to launch a legal effort to take over the closed Huntley Generating Station from its owner.

The Town Board at its March 25 meeting is planning to vote to begin eminent domain proceedings against NRG Energy, Supervisor Joseph Emminger said Monday.

Huntley closed in 2016 and the property is for sale but NRG still provides untreated water to local industrial customers. Tonawanda officials want to ensure that continues. Emminger said those agreements expire this year.

The town in September hired the Hopkins Sorgi & Romanowski law firm to prepare the eminent domain filing opposed by NRG. The Town Board held a public hearing in December but had not taken further action.

Emminger said the official filing has taken longer than expected because he wanted to give NRG additional time to sell the coal-fired plant. The town is eager to get the River Road property into the hands of someone who will redevelop the site.

The town had weighed whether to take over just Huntley's water intakes and water lines before ultimately deciding to seek control of everything except a fly ash landfill on the site, Emminger said.

The March 25 vote would begin a lengthy court fight.

NRG spokesman David Knox said by email that the town has no legal basis to take the plant through eminent domain and this filing will scare off prospective buyers – making it harder to meet the town's goal of bringing in a new owner.

Tonawanda preparing to take over water intakes at former Huntley plant

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