State Senator John Bonacic (R/I/C- Mt. Hope), today said the Senate will commit $50,000 of Legislative Initiative funding to the Upper Delaware Council for use in fighting efforts to site giant powerlines in Delaware, Sullivan, and Orange Counties. The Senator was joined in Narrowsburg by residents and local officials who also oppose NYRI.
The power line project, known as New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI), has hired large law firms and powerful lobbyists to persuade government leaders to allow the project, which would string power lines along the Delaware River and through parts of Orange County.
Senator Bonacic said, "NYRI is well funded. They have hired powerful lobbyists and big law firms. We are dealing with well-financed special interests here, and the State Senate intends to do its part to make sure our region has a fighting chance. My message to NYRI is simple: ‘you are not taking on a few small towns and a couple of not for profit groups. You are taking on the Senate of the State of New York, and we don’t like what you are trying to do."
The Senator was joined in Narrowsburg by several elected officials, including Chairman of the Upper Delaware Council's Board, Charles Wieland of Tusten, other Board members, Cochecton Town Supervisor Sal Indelicato and Lumberland Town Supervisor John LiGreci. Mr. LiGreci is also Chairman of the Sullivan County Supervisors’ Association.
Senator Bonacic said the grant will be used by the UDC to pay for costs associated with informing the public about the project and to hire consultants the UDC deems necessary to represent the interests of the communities that are represented on the Upper Delaware Council. "The UDC has a distinguished track record of supporting the Upper Delaware region. They should be well-funded, thereby able to continue the work they do for our area," continued Bonacic.
Bonacic, referring to NYRI’s efforts to receive a special federal designation which would essentially allow them to ignore localities, as well as NYRI’s web-site, featuring smiling people and waterfalls said, "NYRI is attempting to circumvent State and local law by using the Federal Energy Act to their advantage and to our disadvantage. The smiling faces on NYRI’s website must be their investors, because they are not the people of our region. Their website should feature reality-based pictures of big, towering power lines running through farmland near residential developments."
Upper Delaware Council Executive Director William Douglass said, "NYRI is in direct contravention of our River Corridor’s management plan. We are galvanized together as a community and we are ready for a fight, and once again, when we needed him, John Bonacic is there for us."
Supervisor John LiGreci said, "NYRI has the potential to change our region forever - for the worse. The good news is, once again, when we need him, our Senator is stepping up to help. The message today is simple: we are united, we are strong, and we are well funded. NYRI should pay attention."
After NYRI was unveiled, Bonacic sent a letter to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and the State Public Service Commission demanding home rule zoning be followed. Bonacic also demanded NYRI hold a public information meeting in Sullivan County, where none had been planned. A public meeting is now scheduled for May 18 in the hamlet of Callicoon.
Two days ago, Bonacic hosted Sullivan County Planning Commissioner William Pammer and Orange County Planning Commissioner David Church, along with Bill Douglass, at a meeting with the State Public Service Commission to outline the State Article VII process under the Public Service Law. Now, the Senator is taking the fight to another level, committing the State funding for the project.
"Hopefully by the State Senate stepping in with funding, the developers behind NYRI will understand that it is not just a few towns making some noise, it is many towns - big and small, with thousands of residents, backed by their Senator in Albany. We don’t want to lose this battle and we better have the resources and education at our disposal to fight it," concluded Senator Bonacic.
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