ONEONTA, 10/21/08 -- In testimony before an administrative judge of the state Public Service Commission, State Senator James L. Seward (R/I/C-Oneonta) said that the proposed New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) power line might be good for New York City, but it would be disastrous for upstate New York.
"The NYRI project will reduce upstate property values, hurt economic development efforts, and potentially increase energy costs and scar our picturesque landscape," Seward said. "It may be good for NYRI investors and it may be good for New York City, but it is not good for upstate. It's time we put upstate first and reject this ill-conceived plan."
Seward was one of the earliest opponents of NYRI. In 2006 he led an effort of senate Republicans to secure $1 million in funding to help the consortium of local governments (CARI) challenge the plan; and he joined in developing legislation that denied NYRI the ability to use eminent domain in its land acquisition effort. Seward arranged briefings for the elected officials of his district with the Public Service Commission and participated in hearings before the Senate Energy Committee in 2006. It was at a hearing in Utica that NYRI representatives testified that they anticipated a 5 percent increase in upstate's utility costs as a result of the NYRI project.
"To tell my constituents now that they should be prepared to see the value of their homes disappear so that it will be easier to transmit power downstate is simply beyond inequitable," Seward added.
"NYRI will be good for its investors, not for us. This project tramples on already struggling upstate communities for the benefit of NYRI investors. I will continue to fight it every step of the way," Seward said.