February 19, 2009, Mid-Hudson News: Federal court says FERC overstepped bounds in NYRI case

Federal court says FERC overstepped bounds in NYRI case

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WASHINGTON – New York Regional Interconnection, the company that wants to build an electric transmission line from Utica to New Windsor, appears to have suffered a setback as the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission overstepped its mandate in transmission siting, leaving the decision with the state.        

That is good news to Orange County Executive Edward Diana. “This decision certainly puts this decision back in the hands in the hands of the public power authority in New York State to make that decision within a 12 month period of time and that we would hope would be in denial of this NYRI application to enhance and build this line in the seven counties,” he said. “We think it’s unnecessary.”

US Senator Charles Schumer said the decision is a victory. “This decision puts the kibosh on NYRI’s effort to do an end-around local law and correctly determines that New York State should have the preeminent role in siting projects like NYRI,” he said. “NYRI’s proposed path remains unduly intrusive and would have damaging impacts on parks, vista and communities from Utica to Chenango to the Catskills to Orange County.”

Len Singer, General Counsel for New York Regional Interconnection responded with a statement:

"The 4th Circuit decision holds that the FERC cannot exercise siting jurisdiction if a state siting authority denies an application within a year after the application is filed. If a state denial comes more than a year after an application is filed, then the FERC would have jurisdiction. NYRI's application was filed February 20, 2008 so if a denial were to occur by the NY PSC after February 20, 2009 it would be subject to FERC jurisdiction under the Court's decision. NYRI believes that if the project is judged on its merits by an independent, objective siting authority, it will find that the project is in the public interest."

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