NYRI’s plan rejected again by state panel

NYRI’s application to build a 200-mile-long power line through central New York is still deficient, the state Public Service Commission informed the firm in a letter dated Monday.

The determination means NYRI’s application to build the $1.6 billion, 400-kilovolt line cannot yet be formally evaluated by state regulators. New York Regional Interconnect Inc. also has been pursuing approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee for a project that would route electricity from Marcy in Oneida County to New Windsor in Orange County. Along the firm’s preferred route, electric cable on towers more than 100 feet tall would run through Chenango and Delaware counties.

NYRI’s original application, filed May 31, 2006, was declared deficient by the PSC in July of that year.

Last month, the i n v e s t o r - o w n e d firm filed a supplement to its application, billed as addressing those deficiencies. According to the PSC, the effort fell short. On Tuesday afternoon, David Kalson, NYRI spokesman, stated by e-mail that NYRI was still evaluating the PSC’s letter.

This letter states that two municipalities that lie along one of NYRI’s proposed routes, the village of Yorkville in Oneida County and the town of Callicoon in Sullivan County, as well as the town of Tompkins in Delaware County, which is near a proposed route, were not properly notified of the supplement.

The PCS found that aerial photographs submitted were inadequate, because they didn’t show a wideenough swath along the project’s path.

``The coverage of the aerial photographs in the application supplement indicates the proposed centerline and right-of-way, but does not show at least 1,200 feet on each side of the proposed ROW or identify all cultural features, as required by (law),’’ it states.

Other deficiencies the PSC noted were:

- The application does not contain ``legible architectural drawings for the switch yard (and) substation facilities or converter stations.’’

- The application supplement does not contain ``a list of all local ordinances, laws, resolutions, regulations, standards, and other requirements applicable to the proposed facility, together with a statement that the location of the facility as proposed conforms to all such local legal provisions, except any that the applicant requests that the Commission refuse to apply.’’

- Not adequately addressing historic and cultural resources along NYRI’s proposed routes. Project opponents Chris Rossi and Eve Ann Shwartz, co-chairwomen of Stop NYRI, said the PSC’s finding are helpful, but both warned that the company is working to make its application more complete at the federal level. According to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, projects in ``national interest electric transmission corridors’’ can be approved federally, overruling state regulators if the project has been reviewed for at least a year at the state level. One such corridor designated last year includes most of New York state, including all of NYRI’s preferred route.

In the past, Kalson has said NYRI hopes to win state approval for a project that proponents say is meant to take power from upstate New York and transmit it to the New York City area. State Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, praised the letter in an e-mail to The Daily Star.

``This latest setback for NYRI is good news,” he wrote, “but the best news would be if the federal government would remove itself from deciding where and when power lines in New York state should be sited.’’


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