State lawmakers across a wide swath of central New York targeted by New York Regional Interconnect for a 200 mile long electric power line have urged the governor to sign legislation (S. 8349-A) that would restrict the use of eminent domain by private companies when siting certain electric or gas transmission lines, Senator Seward said today in releasing the text of the letter.
"A coalition of state legislators from both parties worked together with our constituents to get this bill passed to reform the use of eminent domain in New York," Senator Seward said. "We want to make NYRI's effort to drape their towers across our land more difficult, and without eminent domain, they will have to negotiate with willing buyers."
Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) stated, "I fervently believe that eminent domain should only be exercised for the most public of purposes, not to the benefit of one part of the State and to the detriment of another as in the case of New York Regional Interconnect's proposed power line. It is my hope the Governor will not allow our region's landscape to be blighted and our energy costs increased for one energy company's profit. I urge the Governor to sign this important legislation into law."
"NYRI officials have given very little thought about how this ill-advised monstrosity will affect our constituents in its path. This piece of legislation is critical to our fight against this proposal and sets up a road block and clear message, taking private property through eminent domain for the benefit of a private corporation should never be allowed. I urge Governor Pataki to give this legislation his approval," Senator Meier said.
"NYRI's misguided scheme would ruin our landscape and hurt our property values," said Senator Tom Libous (R/C- Binghamton). "And the company's intentions to abuse the power of eminent domain is reprehensible. That's why it's so important that this bill becomes law."
The New York State Senate Standing Committee on Energy and Telecommunications has held several hearings on the NYRI proposal at the request of Senators Bonacic, Libous, Larkin, Meier, and Seward. The hearings have elicited testimony from community members and NYRI representatives that the proposed line will raise upstate's energy costs and absorb any available upstate electricity in order to direct additional electricity to downstate. Municipalities, community organizations and businesses along the line's proposed route from Oneida to Orange Counties have announced opposition to the plan.
The legislation was approved by the state senate and assembly in June. The governor has until December 31, 2006 to sign or veto the legislation.