In response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) release of two draft designations of National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors today, U.S. Representatives Maurice Hinchey (D- Hurley), Michael A. Arcuri (D-Utica), and John Hall (D-Dover Plains) restated their strong opposition to current law that could allow New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) and other private companies to utilize federal eminent domain to acquire private property and circumvent state authority.
“We have been opposed to this egregious process since the beginning, and plan to continue our efforts to prevent the NYRI proposal every step of the way,” said Reps. Hinchey, Arcuri, and Hall. “While we expected this announcement from the DOE, it comes as a great shock that we’re hearing the news a day after we held an oversight hearing in Washington where the senior official who oversees this subject at DOE answered questions about the implementation of this law, but failed to mention this announcement was imminent.
“Allowing private energy companies to run roughshod over local property rights, subvert state authority, and damage environmentally sensitive areas everywhere in the country – except for a large portion of Texas – is patently unjust. Unfortunately, this sort of action is indicative of this administration’s favoring of energy companies over the rights of average citizens. We are committed to working together in Congress on behalf of our constituents to fight tooth and nail against this proposal. We have already introduced legislation in the House to block the creation of National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors, which would stop the NYRI project, and will be pushing that legislation vigorously.”
Included in the Department of Energy’s draft is a proposal to create a Mid-Atlantic Area National Corridor which would include the following counties in New York State: Albany, Bronx, Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Greene, Herkimer, Jefferson, Kings, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orange, Orleans, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Renssalaer, Richmond, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Seneca, Suffolk Sullivan, Ulster, Wayne, Westchester, and Wyoming.
Section 1221 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, created new federal authority to site electric transmission lines throughout the country. Under the Act, the Department of Energy may designate areas of the country as “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors.” Within these corridors, state authority over transmission lines may be preempted and new federal eminent domain authority could be used to obtain land for approved electric utility transmission projects. Hinchey voted against the bill when it came before the House in 2005.
26 April 2007
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