The State Senate's Republican Majority, today announced that the Senate would make up to $1 million available to fight NYRI. The fund significantly expands upon the start of a "legal offense" fund first launched by State Senator John Bonacic in May.
The funds will initially go to the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) for distribution among the affected counties. Counties effected by the proposed power line, which would run from Marcy to Orange County, include Delaware, Sullivan, and Orange Counties.
"Unlike some who want to sell out to NYRI, and choose a route for them along Saugerties, Ulster, and New Paltz instead of along Tusten, Hancock, and Otisville, my goal is to stop NYRI entirely, not help them pick the county they get to blight. Our region must speak with one voice - not try and shift the NYRI lines from one county to the next, but instead try and stop them. To do otherwise is to buy into NYRI's basic premise that this line is even needed - and that means we lose," Bonacic said.
The State's Independent System Operator - an independent agency that oversees the State's power grid, has indicated that the State has enough energy to meet downstate's power needs for the next decade, and building transmission lines like NYRI proposes to do are among the least pressing solutions to power related problems.
Since NYRI was unveiled, Senator Bonacic has led the effort to fight the power project, taking strategic steps at every level of government to do so. His actions include:
- Brought the region's planners to Albany to meet with the Public Service Commission about NYRI and understand the process;
- Formed, along with the region's other Senators the ad hoc anti-NYRI coalition;
- Introduced legislation to block NYRI's use of eminent domain under State Law;
- Started a "legal offense fund" with the Upper Delaware Council to drive NYRI away from the Delaware River area;
- Called for the recusal of FERC Commissioner Marc Spitzer from reviewing NYRI. Spitzer has publicly endorsed NYRI before taking office as a FERC Commission.
"This financial assistance comes at a critical time, as momentum continues to build to defeat the NYRI plan," said Stephen J. Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). "On behalf of the counties involved in opposing this power line project, and all of our counties which have a stake in the state’s future energy policy, we thank the Senate for providing this assistance."
"NYRI is about one thing - cheaper power for New York City and more expensive power and blight for upstate. Our region must stand together and tell NYRI - we don't want you anywhere, and we will fight you until the end," concluded Senator Bonacic.