Cuomo wants energy company's case thrown out

John O'Brien Sep. 11, 2007, 1:18pm


NEW YORK - An energy company hoping to construct a power line through upstate New York is arguing that it has been harmed by state law, and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants the lawsuit dismissed.

New York Regional Interconnect wants to construct a 190-mile high voltage direct current transmission line from Oneida County to Orange County. In its complaint, filed in February in federal court for the Northern District of New York, NYRI says the state has treated the project unfairly.

Legislation sponsored by state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mt. Hope, and state Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, prevented the NYRI from using eminent domain to seize private property. According to a report by The Associated Press, Cuomo is now attempting to have the lawsuit dropped.

Bonacic and Lupardo are named as defendants in the case, as are former Gov. George Pataki, current Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vasquez, Public Service Commission Chairwoman Patricia Acampora, PSC commissioners Maureen Harris, Robert Curry and Cheryl Buley, and state senators James Seward, William Larkin and Thomas Libous.

The project would have supplied power only to the New York City area. In the company's complaint, NYRI says the power line's benefits include:

-An increase in the reliability of the state's bulk power transmission system;

-A reduction in the prices of the state's wholesale electricity markets;

-An increase in the state's power supply, leading to a reduction in its dependence on gas- and oil-fired electric generation resources;

-A raise in the tax base along the transmission route;

-Creation of hundreds of construction-related employment opportunities, as well as many permanent jobs; and

-A decrease in emissions from gas- and oil-fired electric generation facilities that would provide a positive for the environment.

Obviously, state lawmakers did not agree.

"We want to make NYRI's effort to drape their towers across our land more difficult, and without eminent domain, they will have to negotiate with willing buyers," Seward said.

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