CHENANGO COUNTY – Energy officials in Washington can expect legal challenges to be brought against a recent federal policy that could breath life into the New York Regional Interconnect power line if the controversial bid dies at the state level, local power line opposition leaders say.
The anti-NYRI front wants Governor Eliot Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to support the lawsuits.
“We call upon Governor Spitzer and Attorney General Cuomo to join with us in these legal battles to protect the rights of New Yorkers against the incursion of federally imposed projects and to protect the right of the state to determine its own energy policy,” said Hubbardsville resident Chris Rossi, a co-chair for the Chenango and Madison County group Stop NYRI.
Using unprecedented authority granted by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, Tuesday the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) completed a year and a half-long debate and finalized its two “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor” designations. Inside the corridors – a “Mid-Atlantic” that stretches from Virginia to northern New York state, and a “Southwest” that covers parts of California and Arizona – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will have the authority, under certain circumstances, to override a state’s power line permitting process and review a project like NYRI’s – even if it has already been denied.Several attempts by a group of New York’s congressional representatives in Washington to reverse the corridor policy by way of legislation have yet to succeed.
A bill that would drastically reduce FERC’s powers inside the corridor introduced by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton in August is still awaiting a vote. That legislation reportedly went to Senate committees last week for review, Schumer’s office said Friday.