Approval of a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot would allow a land swap along State Route 56 in Colton so that the New York Power Authority and National Grid can avoid a six-mile detour through the Adirondack Park in bringing a new power line to Tupper Lake.

Adirondack Council Communications Director John F. Sheehan said the detour would be “environmentally disastrous,” as it would involve road construction through an old-growth forest, cross 95 streams and wetlands and infringe upon habitat for the endangered spruce grouse.

“It would also erect a permanent barrier to expansion of that section of the Forest Preserve,” he said.
The power line, which has already been activated, runs from the Stark Falls Reservoir to the village of Tupper Lake.

It needs an after-the-fact constitutional amendment because it traverses a section of the state Forest Preserve protected by Article 14, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution, also known as the “Forever Wild” clause. The clause forbids logging or development on the preserve.

Sheehan said the Senate and the Assembly have approved the amendment, noting that Tupper Lake has been a frequent victim of mid-winter blackouts because it only has one power source. In fact, he said, the amendment required passage by two separately elected legislatures.

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