About 20 people from Chenango and Madison counties joined protestors at the Department of Energy hearing on establishing “national interest electric transmission corridors,'” an opponent said Friday.
Chris Rossi, co-chairwoman of Stop NYRI Inc., said the locals rode to Manhattan Wednesday in a bus chartered by the group, one of several citizens’ organizations battling the $1.6 billion power line proposed by New York Regional Interconnect Inc.
“It was good that we could speak, and the officials seemed to listen politely, but I didn’t get the feeling that we were changing any minds,” she said. “It seemed more like this was a done deal, and they were going through the motions.”
The DOE has proposed two NIETC corridors, one in the western United States and the other running from Virginia to New York state. If the corridors are approved by the DOE, they will allow the federal government to approve electrical transmission projects within the corridors, even over the objection of state regulators.
Rossi said scores of protesters from along the proposed NYRI line, which would run from Marcy in Oneida County to New Windsor in Orange County, attended the hearing in New York City. They were joined by others from New York state, New Jersey and elsewhere who oppose the corridors as a federal usurpation of state power, she said.
Stop NYRI members took turns working the sidewalks of Manhattan and watching and participating in the hearing, she said.
While the effort of riding eight or nine hours by bus for two minutes at the microphone may have been worth it once, the group is unlikely to repeat this performance in June, when the DOE will hold another hearing in Rochester.
“We really wish they’d have a hearing here in central New York where the people who would be affected by NYRI can come,” she said.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Steidler also said the NYRI line would stimulate the spread of wind power projects in upstate New York.
NYRI’s proposal has generated criticism from New York’s two U.S. senators, Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, and U.S Reps. Maurice Hinchey, D-Saugerties, and Michael Arcuri, D-Utica.
Arcuri is sponsoring public meetings on the NIETC proposal at New Hartford High School at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and at the Norwich city Fire House at 2:30 p.m. June 2. At these gatherings, which the DOE will be invited to attend, people will be allowed to “voice their concerns about power lines such as the one proposed by NYRI,” according to his office.
Rossi said Stop NYRI members plan to attend the sessions.
By Tom Grace
The Daily Star
26 May 2007
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