NYRI: it ain't over 'til it's over

As we inch toward autumn, and the beautiful foliage it produces in our scenic area of the state, I'm reminded that lately I haven't heard many people talking about the proposed gigantic power line that New York Regional Interconnect (www.evesun.com/topics/news/NYRI/">NYRI) wants to bulldoze through our area. Following a volley of widespread interest earlier this year, it would appear some people are drifting into complacency, at least until the next major announcement is made.

Perhaps many feel that the ongoing opposition by their local elected state officials will prove sufficiently strong that the NYRI application will be denied by the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC). Or they may believe that the thousands of letters and resolutions in opposition that have been sent to Albany will be enough. Or maybe they just refuse to accept the possibility that such an unpopular project will become a reality since the eminent domain law change is sitting on Governor Pataki's desk, awaiting his signature. However, I'm one person who believes it very well could happen, and that the battle to stop it is just beginning.

First of all, let's not kid ourselves. In many ways, there are probably millions of people, many of them living south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, who have no idea where Chenango County is or have ever been here. In some ways, we are "invisible" to many non-residents since the main routes usually taken by travelers bypass us - the Thruway, I-81, I-88, and I-86 (NYS Rte 17). I discovered this fact six years ago, when the county was the host site for a four-day state outdoor writers association conference, and an alarming number of the attendees had never been here before. What proved to be very gratifying was that all were highly impressed with the natural beauty of the area. Some even compared it to the Adirondack Park region, which is a popular and highly recognized destination.

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