I have joined four other state senators who represent an eight-county area in opposing the power line project proposed by New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. The power line would cut through many communities in our districts stretching from Central New York, through the Southern Tier, to the lower Hudson Valley. Senator James Wright, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, has agreed that public hearings are appropriate and will convene the first hearing next week in Norwich, New York.
New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. wants to build a twelve-hundred megawatt transmission line that would run from Utica to Orange County.
I strongly oppose the NYRI proposal. I have grave concerns about this project. Research shows there could be critical health issues associated with high-voltage electric lines. In addition, there are environmental issues as well as economic impacts. There is no question that these unsightly lines would affect the property value of area homes and the beauty and landscape of our region.
This is a billion dollar project. It is being proposed not to meet the energy needs of upstate New York, but to serve only New York City -- at the expense of upstate New York. I fully agree with my colleague, Senator James Seward of Oneonta, who said, "The power line means one thing: continued exploitation of upstate New York to serve downstate interests."
Residents need to be well aware of the serious and detrimental impact this project would have on the Hudson Valley. NYRI has not been forthcoming in sharing this information. In fact, it has been deceptively secretive. For example, one of the many questions that still goes unanswered by the company is how the proposed line would affect upstate utility rates. The organization must be held accountable in publichearings.
I strongly urge local residents, public officials, and business leaders to come out and take an active role in fighting this project. My colleagues and I are working on a comprehensive state review and study, but an organized opposition effort by the local communities affected is essential. The most important thing for us to do as state legislators is to see to it that the local communities have a voice in waging a successful fight.