Schumer talks local, national issues during Norwich visit

NORWICH – Senator Charles Schumer kept the mood light Thursday during his visit to Norwich, despite addressing some of the heavy issues facing Chenango County and the nation.

Periodically slipping in jokes and anecdotal stories, Schumer (D-NY) led off the gathering denouncing New York Regional Interconnect’s plan to deliver electricity downstate by way of a high voltage power line running from Utica to Orange County.

“We do need to build more power lines,” Schumer told the crowd of around fifty gathered in the Commerce Chenango offices. “But there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.">NYRI has done it the exact wrong way... They’re trying to do an end-run around the counties and around the state.”

NYRI’s line would run through two villages, six townships and 44 miles in Chenango County, the longest stretch through any of the seven counties on the 190-mile-route.

NYRI officials responded to the Senator’s comments, adding that they intend to remain engaged in the state’s review process guided by the Public Service Commission.

“NYRI has been fully engaged in the State process for the past two years and remains fully engaged in that process,” NYRI spokesman David Kalson stated in an e-mail message Thursday.

Schumer is set to introduce legislation on the Senate floor in the fall session that would limit federal authority over a state’s in deciding the fate of power line projects.

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