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NYRI's "˜green' claim draws fire from citizen groups  

Groups fighting the proposed 200-mile power line that will bisect Sullivan and eight other counties, lashed out at an attempt by the power line company to paint the project as “environmentally friendly” and “green.”

In an email sent on March 2, the groups said the claims are “misleading at best; at worst they are dishonest.”

The email came in response to stories that ran in several New York newspapers on February 27 that featured an interview with Bill May, project manager for New York Regional Interconnect (NRYI), the company that wants to build the power line. May told The Associated Press that the power line would help spur the development of wind energy in the state. May said he had talked to wind farm developers who would welcome the power line, because it would facilitate moving electricity produced by wind farms to parts of the state with growing power needs, and would thereby make the construction of wind farms in many remote locations more economically feasible.

Almost everyone agrees that wind installations are far more environmentally friendly than coal and oil-fired power plants, but NYRI opponents said, “If interconnected with the grid, NYRI would not be able to prevent electricity generated from “˜dirty’ generating plants from passing over this line.”

The groups¾the Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition, STOP NYRI, Inc., SayNo2NYRI and the Upstate NY Citizens Alliance¾also pointed to other negative aspects of the project, including an increase in upstate electricity prices if the power line goes through, and the fact that the route would traverse “154 streams and rivers, 64 trout streams, five state regulated wetlands” and so on.

Clinton and Schumer

In related news, NYRI officials met with representatives of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Charles Schumer on March 2 to discuss the power line. Both senators, however, are still expressing doubts about the route.

“NYRI’s proposed routes are inappropriate; they would cut a jagged edge through too many communities and priceless, pristine areas. NYRI’s “˜my way or the highway’ approach is unacceptable,” Schumer said in a prepared statement.

Clinton told power company officials that she had “strong concerns” about the proposed route, and about the impact on electricity rates for upstate consumers.

Court decision

A New York State Supreme Court Justice dealt NYRI a blow last week when he ruled that the company could not block the release of the details of its lease agreements with the New York Susquehanna and Western Railway Corporation. NYRI has agreements with the railway to run part of the power line along the railroad easements.

Judge James Tormey issued the decision on February 28, and said that NYRI had failed to prove that disclosure of the information would put it at a competitive disadvantage.

In October 2006, the Utica Observer-Dispatch requested of the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency, that the newspaper be given access to the railway’s application to renew a tax abatement agreement. The application includes a lease agreement between the power line company and the railroad dating back to 2003. NYRI sued to block release of the information.

It is not yet clear if NYRI will appeal, but if it does not, the information may be released to the newspaper later this spring.

By Fritz Mayer

riverreporter.com

8 March 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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