HUDSON VALLEY—The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition (HVSEC), a broad-based coalition of community groups and officials partnered with Scenic Hudson, today commended the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) for moving to seek more information on the need for proposed new power lines that could reach a height of 165 feet and cut through 25 communities in seven counties of the Hudson Valley. However, the HVSEC is disappointed that the PSC did not suspend further consideration of this proceeding until the regulatory agency can demonstrate conclusively that the project is needed and that the benefits to consumers outweigh the costs. The PSC announcement, made at its scheduled meeting today, comes in the wake of strong public opposition and a slew of recent information that calls into question the need for the new power lines.
The PSC today called for project developers to provide more information on their view of the need issue and committed to holding a technical conference on these issues in June 2015. However, the PSC fell short of indicating that the technical conference would provide formal participants in the process—such as Scenic Hudson and other members of the HVSEC—an opportunity to challenge the need and cost-benefit assertions and provide additional information of value to all stakeholders.
The HVSEC is concerned about major negative impacts the proposed towering, high-voltage power lines could have and is working to protect communities from these impacts. The proposed project could stretch for 150 miles, and the coalition is focused on portions of the power lines that would pass through a large swath of the Hudson Valley, ultimately reaching their destination in Dutchess County. The HVSEC is interested in innovative energy systems and supports creation of a modern, comprehensive energy plan for the state and Hudson Valley. The coalition said the proposed project threatens prime agricultural lands, critical environmental areas and the Hudson River, economic health, scenic beauty, public parks and cultural and historic sites.
The HVSEC—which includes municipal officials; environmental, cultural, historic and land preservation organizations; businesses; and residents—calls on the PSC to either provide a robust review on the issue of need now or suspend the process until need can be conclusively demonstrated using the most up-to-date and comprehensive information.
The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition includes municipal officials; environmental, cultural, historic and land preservation organizations; businesses; and residents who support creation of a modern, comprehensive energy plan for the Hudson Valley and New York State. More information available at www.hvsec.org