Bonacic Introduces Bill To Fight Nyri's Use Of Eminent Domain

John J. Bonacic

June 18, 2006

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mt. Hope), has introduced legislation (S.8349) to prohibit the use of eminent domain by NYRI under State Law. The bill was introduced Friday evening and was rushed into print so it could be eligible for a vote as early as next week.

NYRI representatives testified at a Senate hearing on Thursday, June 15, that they filed as a Transportation Corporation under New York State Law and as such will be able to use the power of eminent domain. Eminent domain is a legal tool which is used for the taking of private property for public good. "NYRI will raise electric prices upstate and lower them downstate. This is a typical move by downstate special interests to hurt our region," Senator Bonacic said.

Under a Section of New York’s Transportation Corporation’s Law, electric companies like NYRI are able to condemn private property and take it for their own profit. Across the nation, State’s have been attempting to limit the ability of property to be taken for private benefit.

Last year, the United States Supreme Court said a Connecticut Law authorizing the taking of private property for a private business enterprise was lawful. Kelo v. New London, 545 U.S. 2655 (2005).

"New York State Law should not allow NYRI to take our residents property for NYRI's profit. The legislation I have introduced will stop that," Bonacic said.

In other NYRI related news, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has come out in opposition to NYRI, joining his fellow Republican Senators including Senator Bonacic, and Senators Larkin, Meier, Libous and Senator Seward. "Because of the economic harm it would cause, because of the possible environmental damage it would cause, because of many concerns and strong community opposition and the opposition of Senators along the power line route, it is my strong belief that the power line plan should not go forward," Majority Leader Bruno said.

"100 years ago, New York City flooded our lands to build their reservoir system. Now their allies are trying to blight our landscape and raise our electric rates to feed the City's appetite for energy. Our region must stand firm and tell the City that we are not just conduits for their water and power. We are communities in our own right and they may not take our land for their selfish purposes," Bonacic concluded.