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New York Moves to Control Transmission Corridors


    New York officials are being proactive to counter the possibility that energy companies, under the mission of improving our national energy transmission system, will call all the plays in regard to where those transmission corridors run.
    As I noted earlier this year, federal officials, working with transmission companies, are focused right now on the West in working to draw up a maze of energy corridors. Some of those come precariously close to national parks. Still to come is similar work in the East. Already one possibility has arose in New York State -- that an electric utility corridor will run right through the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.
    Well, in a move sure to create political fireworks, New York Governor George Pataki recently signed legislation that limits a company's power of eminent domain in the name of electrical and gas transportation projects.
    "The use of eminent domain can have a significant impact on communities, and we must ensure that the legal power to take lands for public benefit is used appropriately," the governor said after signing the law. "Through this law, we will establish additional protections for communities across New York State by prohibiting transmission companies from utilizing eminent domain if a proposed project does not meet designated criteria.
    "These new restrictions help to clarify the rights of a community and its residents, and will uphold their interests with regard to certain projects involving eminent domain."
    Here's what New York state Senator John Bonacic had to add: "Across this country, Americans are alarmed that various state laws allow big business to take their property for profit. Governor Pataki is doing what every governor in this nation ought to do -- he is striking back for the average American and telling those who want to take our property for profit 'no more.' Laws must be made to work for people, not against them."
    Any thoughts on how the Decider in Chief, whose allegiance to the energy industry is well-known, will react to such an upstart state?


He'll strike hard and fast. Pataki, the incumbent Republican, is leaving office and the front-runner to replace him is Democrat Elliot Spitzer, the now famous litigator (NY attorney general). If there is one place where the Decider's loyalities will never change it is the energy industry. The failed oil man (Arbusto) has many, many friends in Big Energy and there are lots of outstanding chits that will be called in. I flummuxed while in Vermont in early July when viewing the damage to mountaintop forests from a major power line "enhancement" project running north-sout through the state. It isn't just roads and highways that fragment forests and wildlife habitat and cause sedimentation in trout streams. The power line corridor is also a major player, leading to all sorts of problems from increased levels of stress on wildlife from off-road cowboys to increased opportunities for invasive plant species.

300 million Americans as of today. In 35 years we will have 400 million. Anyone not in favor of limiting population growth by limiting immigration cannot call himself an environmentalist.

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