Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Of Interest

For years, many have advocated for the removal of the transmission pylons that cross the Hudson and climb up and over Mount Merino.

In light of this, it is interesting to learn that National Grid is removing similar transmission lines in four areas of England and Wales to reduce their visual impact on the landscape: "Pylons to be removed in four protected areas."

Thanks to Ian Nitschke for bringing this to our attention


  1. How do we get them to want to do it here ?

    1. In answer to Vincent, it's very complicated.

      In the UK the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) a National Regulatory Authority funded by ratepayers, oversees the regulation of transmission towers (including those owned by National Grid) and Ofgem will fund the undergrounding of the transmission lines through an increase in customers' bills spread out over a large number of customers.

      As I understand it, the equivalent of Ofgem in New York State, is a combination of the PSC (Public Service Commission), the PSC staff (Department of Public Service), and New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). The PSC would be the lead agency. Although it is recognized that Mt Merino is an landmark of great significance in the history of the Hudson River School and the city of Hudson, unfortunately, because of the power lines, Mt Merino is not even included as a Scenic Area of Statewide Significance (SASS) by the Department of State. So one of the first things to be done would be to include Mt. Merino in a SASS.

      "unheimlich" is incorrect that only he and Peter Jung have "advocated the removal of the transmission pylons that cross the Hudson and climb up and over Mount Merino." There have been many, including myself as a former member of the staff of the Department of Public Service. However, he is correct in stating that it would require a much greater public effort to accomplish something like this. But it is not impossible!

    2. Correction acknowledged, Mr. Nitschke. I admit I'm often too focused on the tremendous apathy of Hudson residents for their immediate environment, and that I wasn't aware of any efforts coming from outside of the city.

      Believe me, they are greatly appreciated.

      With your help, perhaps the next time the Common Council considers another environmental-seeming Resolution which is in actuality fatuous, more residents will take a closer look at the legislation to appreciate its inanity.

  2. "Many have advocated"? Seriously? Seriously?!

    I think in the last decade, only Peter Jung and myself have "advocated."

    In November 2013, the South Bay Task Force discovered that the expansion of the 345-kv transmission lines were to be routed right through Hudson's 7th Street Park, then down the railway spur to the river.

    The City of Hudson was caught totally unawares; clueless as usual.

    An immediate call to Didi Barrett's office proved futile. Even after sharing the plans we'd unearthed, it took two days for them to figure out what was going on. In the meantime, Kathy Marchione's people had all of the information we needed in under two hours. (Give credit where it's due, right?) Marchione put us in direct contact with Monique Brechter, Executive Director of Development for NextEra Energy Transmission, LLC.

    Afterwards, when an alternate route was preferred out in the county, NextEra still visited Hudson to evaluate both aerial and underground/submarine crossings for the transmission lines that block our view of the Catskills. The South Bay Task Force kept in touch with the Florida-based company, which had to wonder whether or not Hudson residents cared at all about the view.

    Through December and January we lobbied our haughty City politicians and officials, all of whom came across as simultaneously contemptuous and ignorant.

    Spreading the word about this opportunity came down to leaving comments at Gossips. In the end, nobody cared.

    Then, on February 18, 2014, the Common Council passed a Resolution in opposition to the project and in pompous solidarity with the municipalities out in the county. Nothing wrong with that, except that it wasn't good enough, especially considering that NextEra was looking for signs that Hudsonians cared about their viewshed.

    What the council couldn't bring itself to do - probably because Hudson residents are so passive and helpless - was to add the following recommended statement to the Resolution for future reference:

    "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; "

    Now, can anyone guess which legal genius wrote that Resolution, and why the above language, proffered months in advance, was soundly rejected by the council?

    Hello? Anyone? Is there anyone out there?

  3. I'm out here unheimlich, but at times under a rock.
    And here's just a thought.
    Might we start by asking the owner, Mr. Colarusso?, to ...................TAKE DOWN THAT TOWER...... at the deep water dock?

    1. TD - The "Mr." you refer to is really a corporation. I'd like to know if any individuals with the same surname are still involved.

      This week I heard a report that the corporation is expanding its wharf, though I haven't had a chance to check it out.

      Is the alleged work expanding the wharf towards the river, or downriver to accommodate larger (or more) vessels?

      I hope that someone with a camera checks it out soon.

  4. I'm just back from checking out the Colarusso wharf, and I'm happy to report that it was only a rumor.

    By chance, Riverkeeper was cruising by, and in mid-river a good conversation commenced about Hudson's imbecilic sewer separation plan.

    Riverkeeper is steadfast, and is following every turn of the story.

    In the coming weeks, there will be at least one Public Comment opportunity for the federal level of environmental review, and maybe more than one for the separate wetlands review.

    I wish that people appreciated the importance of official comments. A little bit can go a very long way.

    (Please remember that the next time the government asks if we like the cross-river transmission lines.)