Statment By Senator John Bonacic On Attorney General's Challenge

John J. Bonacic

March 19, 2008

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed a federal lawsuit to prohibit the federal Government from taking over the approval process for the New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI). A recent decision by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would subject major regions of New York State to the development of massive electric transmission lines - including the proposed 200-mile long NYRI line, over the State's objections. According to Attorney General Cuomo, the DOE's action was taken without proper environmental review and could harm residences, businesses and natural resources in the region of the proposed NYRI line.

In response to Attorney General Cuomo’s action, Senator John Bonacic released the following statement:

"I applaud Attorney General Cuomo’s decision to fight the implementation of the ill-conceived Federal law which has taken away our State’s right to site power lines within our bounds. It is disappointing that our Congressional representatives have spent a great deal of time complaining about NYRI, but have not repealed the 2005 Energy Act- which allows companies like NYRI to go forward in the first place."

"It is obvious that our federal representatives have left the heavy lifting to fight NYRI to those of us at the State level. There has been a real non-partisan effort by all of us at the State level to protect property rights by ensuring projects like NYRI do not take blight our local communities. At the State level, we have gotten results."

"The State Public Service Commission rejected NYRI’s initial application. The Republican led State Senate has provided a war chest to fight NYRI. Hopefully soon our local Assembly Democrats will match that funding."

"The Legislature then passed my legislation to stop NYRI from using eminent domain under State Law. Governor Pataki signed that legislation into law. Attorney General Cuomo successfully defended me when NYRI sued me to overturn that legislation. Former Governor Spitzer expressed his opposition to NYRI and I urge Governor Paterson to do the same thing."

"We are starting our third year in the battle against NYRI with our third Governor since the poorly planned project was announced. I can only hope Governor Paterson becomes a forceful opponent of this project as his predecessors were."

"I urge the Congress to repeal the portion of the 2005 Energy Act which has trampled over State rights. Until they do so however, we at the State level, led by thoughtful leaders like Andrew Cuomo will continue to do all we can to stop poorly planned projects like NYRI every chance we get."