More power to the people?

Public forums set on concerns over proposed high-voltage line through Milan, Clinton

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New high-voltage power lines proposed to run through Milan and Clinton, on their way from Oneida County to Pleasant Valley, are already causing a stir along the way.

Both towns have scheduled public forums for residents to learn what’s at stake.

Dutchess County legislator Joel Tyner, who represents Rhinebeck and Clinton, is holding several Clinton forums on the issue. He has started a petition against the project at www.change.org, and Alyssa Kogon, candidate for Town Supervisor in Clinton, has set up a corresponding Facebook page titled, “Stop the Lines in Clinton.”

According to Tyner, residents of Clinton and surrounding areas have significant concerns about the health impacts of the proposed transmission lines and the effects of the lines and their accompanying towers on property values.

Tyner said experts on these issues have been attending his forums to answer questions and inform residents. Tyner said at the Oct. 16 forum in Clinton, attendees organized themselves into committees in order to continue researching the projects. The next forum in Clinton will be held Oct. 28 at 5:30 pm in town hall.

According to an official letter to Milan Supervisor Bill Gallagher, the projects are in response to the “Energy Highway Blueprint” for improving the state’s energy infrastructure, which was published in October 2012. The blueprint was created by a state Energy Highway Taskforce appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of his “Power NY” initiative. The letter states the goal of the initiative is to “relieve congestion between Upstate New York and Southeast New York.” The projected cost of the new power lines are approximately $1 billion and will add an additional 1,000 megawatts of energy for consumers along the corridor. Service would begin in 2017.

“There is a pretty high potential for this to come through our towns,” Gallagher told The Observer. He said Milan already has four such lines going through it, but this one could involve taking more property into easement to accommodate the necessary towers.

So Milan officials held information sessions for residents to better understand the proposals. Gallagher said that the speakers will mostly be engineers from companies that are bidding on the proposals. The sessions are were held Oct. 22 and 24 at Milan’s town hall. For coverage of these forums, check future issues of The Observer.

According to the letter to Gallagher, there are several projects being proposed by National Grid, NextEra Energy, and others — all submitted under the name “New York Transco,” a consortium of electric transmission owners.

And according to the official application from NextEra Energy, filed Oct. 1 and found on the Town of Clinton’s website, the scope of the project involves “a new, approximately 148-mile 345-kilovolt (kV) single-circuit alternating current (AC) transmission line parallel and adjacent to existing transmission lines between the existing Marcy Substation in Oneida County and the existing Pleasant Valley Substation in Dutchess County…”

In its letter to Gallagher, NY Transco claims that the selected route best meets the objectives of the New York Energy Highway Blueprint.

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