Feds say most power line reviews will continue to be handled by state

CHENANGO COUNTY – Although the federal government has given itself the right to overtake a state’s power line review authority, a spokeswoman for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the majority of projects probably won’t be decided in Washington.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Tuesday the final designation of two “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors” in the nation’s most populated and energy starved areas. Within the two corridors – referred to as the “Southwest” and “Mid-Atlantic” areas – FERC has the potential to authorize power line projects that have either been denied or have failed to receive approval at the state level within one year of filing a permit application.

Energy officials say the corridors will facilitate much-needed upgrades in the country’s electricity infrastructure.

The “Mid-Atlantic” area covers all or part of eight states, including 47 of 62 the counties in New York.

The entire length of New York Regional Interconnect Inc.’s $1.6 billion power line proposal – which would run 190 miles from Utica to Orange County – is included in the corridor’s borders and could fall under FERC jurisdiction.

If ever reviewed and approved in Washington, www.evesun.com/topics/news/NYRI/">NYRI could use federal eminent domain authority to take private property at fair market value, without negotiations.

However, FERC spokeswoman Barbara Connors, indirectly quoting commission Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher, says they expect that most of the current and future power line projects will be decided at the state level.

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