State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) announced today that members of the Senate Majority voiced their opposition to a Department of Energy hearing on the designation of a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETC) being held in Rochester today.
The designation of a NIETC would allow for large portions of upstate land to be set aside for construction of a massive power line, such as the one proposed by New York Regional Interconnect. The Senators, who are unable to attend the hearing because of Senate Session, have submitted written testimony voicing opposition and called upon DOE to schedule another hearing at a location closer to the proposed path of the power line.
"This designation translates into an energy tax upstate while lowering energy costs downstate," Senator Bonacic said. "Furthermore, it will allow the federal government to usurp state’s rights, which is unacceptable."
DOE has scheduled only two hearings on NIETC impacting New York Regional Interconnect’s proposal to build massive power lines through eight counties in New York State. The first hearing was held in New York City and the second one in Rochester. Neither hearing location is near the site of the proposed power lines.
"The federal government’s plan to hold a hearing hundreds of miles from the New York Regional Interconnect’s proposed power line seems to be a planned attempt to limit citizen participation," stated Senator Bonacic. "The people closest to the planned power line project should have a right to be heard as it severely impacts their lives and property."
Senator Bonacic continued, "Although my colleagues and I have submitted testimony for the hearing DOE scheduled in Rochester, New York, we need to send the federal government a loud and clear message that this is a decision that should be made at a State level. The resolution advanced today will do this."
Senator Bonacic said that the New York State Senate Majority has already provided $1 million to counties along the route of the proposed power line to help offset the legal costs related to fighting the proposed project. "Legislation, which I sponsored, was enacted last year that would deny the right of eminent domain for a company seeking to build a power line. This year, the fight continues," concluded Senator Bonacic.