NYRI Re-files Application Studies Today, Opponents Say ‘bring It On’
Published: February 22nd, 2008
By: Michael McGuire

NYRI re-files application studies today, opponents say ‘bring it on’

NORWICH – So far, only one project has ever been denied by the state under the Article VII power line review process.

NYSEG’s Brothertown Road power line was denied in the mid-1990s by the state Public Service Commission after cost-benefit studies showed the line wasn’t needed, a PSC official confirmed Thursday.

The 115 kilo-volt facility was planned to run through the Upper Unadilla Valley from Richfield Springs to Waterville along 28 miles of state Route 20. Citizens who opposed the project said strong local opposition for nearly five years played a key role in the final decision. In the end, NYSEG was offered a chance to conduct a further study, but instead withdrew its application.

New York Regional Interconnect Inc., the company proposing a 190-mile-long, 400 kilo-volt transmission line from Oneida to Orange County, will file the remainder of its long-awaited Article VII application today, company officials said.

With the official fight all but set to begin, NYRI opponents are confident the PSC will eventually hand out its second denial.

“We feel like we’re ready for (NYRI),” said NYRI opponent Chris Rossi, a Hubbardsville resident. “We’re ready to meet them head on.”

In July 2006, NYRI’s first application was deemed incomplete by the state’s Public Service Commission.

Ordered to conduct an alternative route and environmental and economic impact studies, NYRI officials claimed this morning that studies in the new filing completed by their consultants show the power line will lower wholesale energy prices – which are third worst in the country – 5.7 percent by 2018 and stimulate investment in renewable energy resources.

NYRI is also proposing to bury portions of its route. That cost has bumped the project to up over $2 billion, the Associated Press reported.

“NYRI enlisted leading experts from highly respected organizations to conduct additional studies on the project’s economic, environmental and community impacts,” said NYRI President Chris Thompson in a prepared statement released Friday morning. “The studies have concluded that NYRI will yield significant economic advantages and environmental benefits for all of New York, including the development of renewable sources. We are very pleased with these results and hope that communities will see that NYRI is trying to be as responsive as we can to them as we strive to address the vital energy needs of all New Yorkers.”

NYRI has long said its line would open the door for renewable facilities, like wind mills. However, the claim it would lower wholesale energy rates is an about face, considering company officials have admitted the line would raise upstate prices a total of $166 million in the first year the line was in service.

NYRI was scheduled to hold a press conference after press time this morning to announce the filing in more detail.

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