CHENANGO COUNTY – Legislation tightening nationwide transportation security that passed through Congress Tuesday included an amendment requiring the federal government to investigate the risks of placing power lines – such as the New York Regional Interconnection – along railroad right of ways.
The bill, referred to as the Rail & Public Transportation Security Act, was carried in the House by a vote of 299 to 124. It has not been indicated if and when the bill will go to vote in the Senate.
The amendment was introduced by Representative Michael Arcuri (D-Utica) in response to both the March 12 Oneida train derailment and the ongoing NYRI power line proposal. If approved, NYRI would erect a 190 mile-long high voltage transmission line from Oneida to Orange county using railroad and utility right of ways. Locally, the line would sit less than 100 feet from New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad lines between Utica and Woods Corners (the stretch from Sherburne to Woods Corners is currently inactive due to flood damage).
“This (<a href="http://www.evesun.com/topics/news/NYRI/">NYRI</a> project) is a situation where the consequences and risk are not only unknown, but wholly unnecessary,” Arcuri told the House of Representatives Tuesday, citing the Oneida accident and 18 other derailments that occurred in New York state between 2005 and 2006. “It’s no secret that as our cities continue to grow they will require more energy, and I fully support addressing that need. But meeting that need must be done in a safe and responsible way.”
<a href="http://www.evesun.com/topics/news/NYRI/">NYRI</a> officials did not return comment on the issue after being contacted...