Federal lawmakers unveil new legislative strategy to block DOE’s power line plan: Mid-Hudson News, Newburgh NY, 5/4/07

A number of House members, including the Hudson Valley’s Maurice Hinchey and John Hall Thursday unveiled a bipartisan legislative strategy to block the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposal for two “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor” designations, including the New York Regional Interconnect plan.

Unless Congress acts, the DOE could allow the federal government to usurp state authority for siting electric transmission lines and could force the development of power line projects in cases where states have said they don’t want them.

That designation would also allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to permit private corporations to use federal eminent domain powers to seize private property in order to develop those power lines.

“In the case of NYRI, it’s a power line proposed that lies entirely in the State of New York; it doesn’t even cross a boundary, so it is not subject to interstate commerce clauses,” said Hall.

The other designation would be for a Dominion Virginia Power company proposal.

In an effort to block the power lines and eliminate the use of eminent domain, the House members are seeking legislative language that prohibits the DOE from using any money to make NIETC designations.

Hinchey said he is gaining support for legislation that would stop the eminent domain provision and block National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designations.

“We’re working in every way that we can to protect the people’s interests through the Delaware River Valley and elsewhere through central New York and down into Orange County,” he said. “The number of sponsors for the bill and the interest that we have expressed in dealing with it through the appropriations process is increasing. We are getting more and more support for our efforts and that leads me to believe that we have a better chance of being successful.”

The other House members signing on to battle to stop the eminent domain plans from moving forward are Michael Arcuri of New York and Carney of Pennsylvania.

Mid-Hudson News, Newburgh NY: http://www.midhudsonnews.com