Congressman pans power line request

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:34

    Washington - The congressman representing the New York counties along the federally protected Upper Delaware River has panned riverside construction of a proposed power transmission line Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) on Tuesday appealed to the U.S. Department of Energy to reject a request for a special federal designation from New York Regional Interconnection, Inc. (NYRI). That designation could speed the construction of a high voltage direct current transmission line from upstate New York - through Pike County - to Orange County, N.Y. The developers requested designation of a 200-mile corridor running from Marcy to New Windsor as a “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor.” The designation could preempt New York State‘s authority over the review and approval of transmission lines. Hinchey opposes this designation because one of the two currently proposed routes for the transmission lines runs through the federally protected Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor. “High voltage power lines and towers have no place along the treasured Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River ,” Hinchey said. “The federal government has already designated this scenic corridor as off limits for massive power lines such as the one NYRI is proposing, which is why it is imperative that the Department of Energy reject this new request that could enable a proposal such as that by NYRI to circumvent that designation. I recognize the need for power, but we must find ways to meet that need without putting up transmission lines that are completely inconsistent with the natural environment surrounding them.” Hinchey called for the project to be returned to state Public Service Commission authorities for their review. The new federal designation requested by the developers was created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which Hinchey opposed and voted against. Environmental lawyer to fight power line Locally, power line opponents have hired a nationally known environmental and historic preservation lawyer to fight the New York Regional Interconnection project along the Delaware River. In practice for 36 years, Richard J. Lippes represented the Love Canal homeowners, served as special environmental counsel to the plaintiffs executive committee in the Three Mile Island litigation and is currently representing families who have lost loved ones in the 9/11 attack in their effort to preserve the 9/11 site. In a statement, Lippes said the river’s federal designation must be protected. “The Upper Delaware River and its basin are an extremely important environmental resource for the Northeast and for the country. Lippes was retained by the Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition. He is scheduled to attend the coalition’s informational and fundraising public meeting on May 7 at the Inn at Lackawaxen at 11 a.m. to discuss the power line issue.