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Transmission line gets no support

Landowners in Henderson and Ellisburg are charged up over the proposed transmission line for Galloo Island Wind Farm. They voiced their displeasure with the plan during public hearings for the Public Service Commission on Monday morning and evening in Henderson and Belleville. In fact, none of the about 50 speakers at Monday's hearings supported the project. Upstate NY Power Corp., the developer for the entire project, is seeking to build a 50.6-mile, 230-kilovolt transmission line.

GALLOO ISLAND PLANS: Henderson, Ellisburg landowners upset about project disturbing their properties

Landowners in Henderson and Ellisburg are charged up over the proposed transmission line for Galloo Island Wind Farm.

They voiced their displeasure with the plan during public hearings for the Public Service Commission on Monday morning and evening in Henderson and Belleville. In fact, none of the about 50 speakers at Monday's hearings supported the project.

Upstate NY Power Corp., the developer for the entire project, is seeking to build a 50.6-mile, 230-kilovolt transmission line. It would begin on Galloo Island and run underwater to the town of Henderson, where it would make landfall near Hovey Tract Road. From there, it would run east and south through the towns of Ellisburg, Sandy Creek and Richland to connect to a 345-kilovolt line in the town of Mexico.

The latest maps show the developer plans to circumvent the village of Pulaski and go to the east side of Interstate 81 there.

"There is nothing green or earth-friendly about building a power line through prime agricultural land," said Sharon B. Rossiter, co-owner of Doubledale Farms in Ellisburg.

She and her husband,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

GALLOO ISLAND PLANS: Henderson, Ellisburg landowners upset about project disturbing their properties

Landowners in Henderson and Ellisburg are charged up over the proposed transmission line for Galloo Island Wind Farm.

They voiced their displeasure with the plan during public hearings for the Public Service Commission on Monday morning and evening in Henderson and Belleville. In fact, none of the about 50 speakers at Monday's hearings supported the project.

Upstate NY Power Corp., the developer for the entire project, is seeking to build a 50.6-mile, 230-kilovolt transmission line. It would begin on Galloo Island and run underwater to the town of Henderson, where it would make landfall near Hovey Tract Road. From there, it would run east and south through the towns of Ellisburg, Sandy Creek and Richland to connect to a 345-kilovolt line in the town of Mexico.

The latest maps show the developer plans to circumvent the village of Pulaski and go to the east side of Interstate 81 there.

"There is nothing green or earth-friendly about building a power line through prime agricultural land," said Sharon B. Rossiter, co-owner of Doubledale Farms in Ellisburg.

She and her husband, Daniel L., choked up as they spoke about the crop cycle on the farm and the acres they would lose for crop production because of the proposed line. Mr. Rossiter said even with the poles spread out about 500 feet, it is difficult to plant crops around them.

The Rossiters stand to lose about 100 acres to the transmission line right of way.

"The obstacles for dairy farmers have become bigger and bigger," he said. "I have always remained optimistic about farming in Northern New York, but we must compete in a global economy. We don't need any other obstacles."

Jay M. Matteson, Jefferson County agricultural coordinator, also spoke out against using agricultural land in light of other alternatives.

"When state land is available that is not any more valuable environmentally than neighboring private lands, these transmission facilities projects should be sited on the available public land," he said. "The burden should be on New York state and the developer to prove to local landowners why their land is less valuable than public land."

John M. Irwin, Clay, argued against the proposed route, given the alternatives. In the application, the developer ruled out an underwater line because of cost and reliability issues.

"The claim about reliability of a subaquatic route is without merit," he said. "An underwater cable is not affected by an ice storm, or by lightning."

He also said the application lacked a realistic cost comparison of going to the Coffeen Street substation west of the city of Watertown. That substation would be the closest to the project, but would require upgrades to the substation.

"Their proposed line runs straight through the middle of the blueberry farm, which is what we've been working at building over the last six years," said Roberta F. French, owner of Farnham Farms in Sandy Creek.

The plan would eliminate about two-thirds of the blueberry field, she said. She said she will offer a proposal to go around her current and future fields.

Ms. French and others complained that they had not been notified that the transmission line is planned for their or neighboring property. Upstate NY Power representative Robert W. Burgdorf, of Nixon Peabody, Rochester, explained that the developer originally had talked to about 300 landowners along possible routes. But once the PSC process began, it did not notify individual landowners as the route changed.

Several landowners voiced fears about the use of eminent domain.

In August, a PSC spokeswoman said that although eminent domain could be attempted after the developer received a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, it would require a separate process through local jurisdictions.

"They do not automatically gain the rights afforded under eminent domain law," Anne V. Dalton said.

Officials in Henderson also were vocal in opposition to the line.

"The town is vehemently opposed to the line coming through the town at all," said Holly K. Austin, the town's attorney on the transmission line proposal. She works for the Syracuse law firm Hancock & Estabrook LLP.

"The foundation of the town is tourism and agriculture," she said. "The community is very concerned about the visual impacts of this project."

Robert E. Ashodian, chairman of the Henderson Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Committee, said the transmission line would violate the town's comprehensive plan. The plan was approved in 2004 after the town board and local Chamber of Commerce compiled surveys of residents.

"The scenic resources of the community and the natural resources are at the heart of the value of the community," he said. "How can the developer think about having a utility of this magnitude built with no reference to the long-term use plan of the town?"

Mr. Ashodian said people in Henderson didn't know it was coming.

The Times first reported in January 2008 the proposed path for the power line.

The hearings continue todayat 10 a.m. at the Barclay Court House, 1 Jefferson St., Pulaski, and at 6 p.m. at the Pulaski Junior-Senior High School, 4324 Salina St., Pulaski. The PSC and developer will present information during the first hour, followed by time for public statements.


Source: http://www.watertowndailyti...

NOV 17 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23132-transmission-line-gets-no-support
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