Power lines cut through many rural areas as "rights of way."(Photo courtesy of: NASA)
The Department of Energy has a plan in the works to ensure the nation’s energy supply, sometimes at the cost of the little guy. Bruce Gellerman talks with Chris Rossi of Hubbardsville, NY, who is protesting the installation of new power lines in her community.
GELLERMAN: Well, in the next few weeks the department of energy will designate what are called "national interest electric transmission corridors." The plan gives the federal government eminent domain over 7 to 10-mile wide swaths of land as rights-of-way for utility transmission towers. One place that’s likely to be on the list is a 200-mile long tract stretching from Utica to Port Jervis New York. Chris Rossi lives in Hubbardsville, near Utica. She’s with one of forty groups protesting the plan.
Hello, Ms. Rossi.
GELLERMAN: My understanding is that the proposed power line will go through a national park, 154 streams and rivers, 155 wetlands and 65 miles of farmland.
ROSSI: Yes, that’s correct and in addition to that it cuts through 56 towns in New York and 17 towns, possibly, in Pennsylvania.
GELLERMAN: Now you live in Hubbardsville, New York. Where would this line go in relationship to you?
ROSSI: Well, Hubbardsville is a very very small town. And I would have a lovely view of these very very large, 130-foot tall power lines from my front porch.
GELLERMAN: What does it look like when you look out your window, Ms. Rossi?
ROSSI: Well, my house was probably built in the 1870s it was when the hops were being grown in central New York. It was a time of great prosperity. I look out over rolling green fields and little houses, little farming houses.
GELLERMAN: Well, so where do you think it comes from?
ROSSI: Well, I think it comes from the windmills that I can see when I drive through my area. We do have windmills. I, and many of the other people in my area, are very much in favor of forward-looking energy transmission and energy generation. We don’t think this company is featuring any forward-looking aspects to the project.
GELLERMAN: So the electricity that would be on this power line wouldn’t come to your house?
ROSSI: No, in fact it goes straight from hydro Quebec down to Westchester where it’s been distributed downstate. Upstate would not get any of the power. In addition, it would lower rates somewhat downstate but it would bring rates up in my area.
GELLERMAN: Well, Ms. Rossi, what are you going to do?
ROSSI: What am I going to do? I am the co-chair of Stop NYRI and we have been very vocal in our opposition to the project. We have been working with local politicians and the other citizens’ groups up and down the line. So, I’m going to keep talking, talking, talking, and agitating to keep this out of our area.
GELLERMAN: Chris Rossi is with the group Stop NYRI. She lives in Hubbardsville, New York. Well, Ms. Rossi, I want to thank you very much.
ROSSI: Thank you for this opportunity.
[MUSIC: Say Hi To Your Mom "Pintsized Midnight Moonbeam Workers" from ‘Discosadness’ (Euphobia/RBG – 2006)]
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