Residents get to sound off on NY power line plan

HAMILTON, N.Y. - Opponent after opponent took turns sharply condemning a proposed 190-mile long high voltage power line through upstate New York, calling it an unneeded and unwanted "white elephant" that would endanger the region's economy and scar its landscape.

"Ultimately, it's nothing more than an extension cord running through someone else's bedroom," said Steve Skollar of Hamilton, one of nearly three dozen people who spoke against the New York Regional Interconnect plan at the first of 13 public hearings being held on the project by the state Public Service Commission.

"This is a bad idea for New York and would be a tragedy for the area," said Skollar, whose house would sit within a quarter-mile of the proposed line.

NYRI wants to build a $2.1 billion transmission line running from the Utica area through seven upstate New York counties to Orange County to bring power to the New York City area. NYRI says the 1,200-megawatt line is needed to improve the state's aging power grid and reduce the threat of blackouts like the one that struck the state in 2003.

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