DOE designates National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors

DOE designates National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors Local representatives are fuming over the federal Department of Energy’s designation Tuesday of two National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors.

That is one step that New York Regional Interconnection needed to build its 200-mile high-voltage power line from Oneida County to Orange County.

The designations allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to permit private corporations to use federal eminent domain powers to seize private property from to develop power lines.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey said lawmakers will seek to amend the energy policy to remove the authority to establish those corridors.

The FERC should also be changed to prevent the agency from giving private companies to ability to seize private property through eminent domain, he said.

Hinchey said the DOE’s decision proves to him that a public comment period held earlier this year “was nothing more than a public relations stunt to give the perception that the public was included in the agency’s decision.”

Congressman John Hall, who also opposes the line, said it, “flies in the face of common sense and is a huge mistake.”

Lawmakers will apply for a re-hearing and seek to stop the designation in the courts, he said.

Hall said he is “shocked” that the federal government would move ahead with the plan to give eminent domain authority to a private company, “without acknowledging the serious objections from the communities that the New York Regional Interconnect would run through, the environmental impacts of the corridor, of the rights of local property owners.”

Both lawmakers said they are committed to keep up the fight to prevent construction of the NYRI line.

State Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt, meanwhile, said the approval will allow NYRI to construct high-voltage power lines “right through our quiet communities destroying both commercial and residential property.

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