Senators Win Public Hearing On Proposed Power Line

James L. Seward

May 16, 2006

Senators Raymond Meier, James Seward, and Thomas Libous are calling for the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee to hold hearings on the power line project proposed by New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. The power line would cut through many communities in the senators’ districts stretching from Central New York, through the Southern Tier, to the lower Hudson Valley. Senator James Wright, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, has agreed that public hearings are appropriate and will convene them as soon as possible.

"If NYRI will not answer the public’s questions, then we will have NYRI officials in front of a senate committee to answer our questions, and under oath if need be. The power line means one thing: continued exploitation of upstate New York to serve downstate interests. My message to NYRI will continue to be ‘Not here; not now; not ever,’ " said Senator James Seward (R-C-I, Oneonta).

"I am strongly opposed to the NYRI proposal. In fact, the secrecy and lack of concern for public input with which they have proceeded has only strengthened my opposition. To date, the so-called public information campaign for NYRI has consisted of tightly controlled, scripted meetings. I am not going to tolerate my constituents being told they have to put their concerns on a little yellow index card," Senator Raymond Meier, (R-C, Western) said. "I have asked Senator Wright to convene public hearings on the matter placing NYRI representatives in a forum they can’t control or script. I also think it would be valuable to receive testimony from local residents, public officials, and business leaders," he continued.

"My colleagues in the Senate Majority are committed to standing side-by-side with our constituents against this misguided project," said Senator Thomas W. Libous (R-C, Binghamton). "These power lines would ruin our landscape and potentially reduce our property values without bringing any benefit to our community."

"Residents in these communities deserve to voice their opinions on how these power lines could
affect health, safety and the environment. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, I will convene hearings as soon as possible to provide those residents with that voice," said Senator Jim Wright, (R-C-I, Watertown).

The legislators said that many major questions are unanswered including the effects on the cost of electricity for the local market, property values, health, environmental, and aesthetics.

Last week Senators Meier and Seward pressed the chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission to take an active role in the siting process for the proposed line.

- 30 -