Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hudson Poised to Join the Opposition

On Monday, a resolution was introduced in the Common Council, which will come to a vote on Tuesday, February 18. The resolution opposes the proposed expansion of the power lines from New Scotland to Pleasant Valley--power lines that pass through Columbia and Dutchess counties. The text of the resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, the City of Hudson ("the City') derives much of its economic vitality from tourism based upon the aesthetics of the Hudson Valley region, the historic integrity of structures located in the City and surrounding communities, and the historic farmland landscape; and
WHEREAS, the New York State Department of State has documented the significance of these attributes and the relationship to the local and regional economy and to the continued growth and vitality of these economies . . . ; and
WHEREAS, the City is concerned that the pending application by New York Transco, NextEra, and North American Transmission for the expansion of 345-kv power lines as part of the NY Energy Highway Plan (herein after "the Project") will cause significant and irreversible damage to the local and regional environment . . . due to decreases in forest cover, wetlands and farmland, reduced agricultural production; damage to and or loss of historic structures, properties and landscapes; adverse effects to public health; and adverse effects to the regional community character thereby negatively impacting tourism and the local and regional economies; and
WHEREAS, the City opposes accessing additional lands for the Project by use of eminent domain; and
WHEREAS, alternatives to the use of acquiring additional lands for power transmission lines through eminent domain exist and it is not clear that addition lands are needed at all; and
WHEREAS, use of the existing right-of-ways, locating new lines underground and using high-composite wires could eliminate or significantly limit the need to secure any new lands or install new electric wire to implement the Project.
1. Hereby opposes the Project as currently proposed.
2. Urges Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Honorable Audrey Zibelman, Chairwoman of the NYS Public Service Commission, to insist and ensure that the Project receives the utmost scrutiny and consideration, including a detailed analysis of using existing right-of-ways to lay new power lines; placing power lines underground; using new or emerging technology such as composite wires to reduce or eliminate the need for new electric wire towers; and all reasonable alternatives.
If the resolution passes on Tuesday, it will happen just in time to meet a critical deadline. The Public Service Commission meets on Thursday, February 20. It is expected that it will be an "instructional meeting." Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised "expedited approval" for any plan that stays within the existing rights-of-way. It is believed that on February 20 the PSC will tell the utilities what they need to change in their proposals. 

At Monday night's informal Common Council meeting, Ian Solomon, of Farmers and Families for Claverack, explained that the PSC "has set up an entirely new way of reviewing" this project, and the decision they make will be based on public comment. "Testimony and comments," said Solomon, "go directly to the people making the decision." Everyone's involvement is critical. Click here for instructions on how to post a comment on the Public Service Commission website.


  1. Why can't the City of Hudson explicitly endorse a proposal to bury the Athens-Mt. Merino transmission lines beneath the river?


    Who sponsored this legislation anyway?

  2. If we were to ask Edison and Tesla back in the 19th century about how we are sharing electricity in the 21st century they would probably wonder what happened to our ingenuity.

  3. I submit that it was spite that kept the following provision out of the Resolution:

    "WHEREAS, the preferred course of action is to relocate the Athens-Mt. Merino transmissions lines beneath the Hudson River to restore the City of Hudson's 19th-century viewshed of the Catskill Mountains; "