The U.S. Department of Energy has completed the environmental review of the proposed 330-mile transmission line intended to bring Canadian hydroelectric power to New York City.
The Department of Energy approved the final environmental impact statement on August 8th , allowing the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line project to move into the final phase of permitting. The DOE’s proposed action includes issuance of a presidential permit authorizing the cross-border construction, operation and maintenance of the power line.
The communications director for Transmission Developers, the company that will build the line, declined an interview and said CEO Donald Jessome was unavailable. In a press release, the company notes that the final EIS is the result of years of intensive review and analysis, noting that the Department of Energy worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, Coast Guard, EPA and the NYS DEC and Public Service Department to complete its review. Jessome’s statement reads: “ A great many people within these agencies and at the state and local level went to great effort evaluating the project.....The CHPE transmission line will provide clean, affordable power while minimizing community and environmental impacts, and it offers a creative solution to meet the energy challenges of the future."
Transmission Developers expects the project will reduce energy bills for New York City consumers and businesses by $650 million annually. Construction will create an average of 300 jobs during the four-year building period.
New York AREA - Affordable, Reliable Electricity Alliance is a statewide coalition of more than 150 businesses, labor and community groups.
Executive Director Richard Thomas says the DOE’s issuance of the final EIS is terrible for the state. “It’s going to result in Canada taking our jobs and taking billions in ratepayer dollars with very little benefit to New York. The Champlain-Hudson Power Express line has absolutely no ability to tie into from a New York-based power plant. And all the communities along the line are going to be shut out.”
Thomas adds that there is an abundance of hydropower in upstate and western New York. “The issue is getting it from those areas to downstate New York. Those are the types of projects that we want. Going ahead and giving an all-access pass to Canada is not something that we should be doing.”
The New York League of Conservation Voters supports the transmission line. Spokesman Dan Hendrick says the state needs to take action around clean energy. “The interesting thing about this power cable is that it’s going to be bringing down power that is generated mostly through hydro. And if you keep in mind that Governor Cuomo has stated his intention of closing Indian Point, which provides a huge source of energy for downstate, we’re going to have to find ways to meet the energy needs. So we have to have more alternatives in place. So having other sources of energy, and clean energy, is really a benefit.”
The 336-mile long power line will run from Quebec to Queens under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. In areas where it cannot be placed under water, it will follow railroad rights-of-way.