Regional Coalition: Powerlines Would Spoil Hudson Valley Views

Jul 10, 2015

Credit Omega Institute

The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition has been given the opportunity argue their case that proposed high voltage power line expansion in the region is unnecessary, Among their concerns: the view.

The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition claims proposed high-voltage power lines would impart major environmental and visual impacts on many natural and some historic sites.

Hayley Carlock is director of environmental advocacy for Scenic Hudson.    "The Public Service Commission is currently considering 21 different proposals for long distance transmission lines, the majority of them overhead, that would cut through the Hudson Valley. There are a range of visual and environmental impacts associated with those, but all of them would have some significant impact. Some of the most damaging proposals include one that would have lines over 100 feet tall, through a brand-new transmission corridor running from Central New York, along the thruway, then departing from the thruway in New Paltz, cutting across the Hudson River with a brand new overhead line, and through the Franklin D. Roosevelt home national historic site, the Eleanor Roosevelt historic site and the property that connects the two."

Some of the lines proposed under New York’s Energy Highway initiative could be strung as high as 120 feet and would cut through 25 communities in seven Hudson Valley counties, impacting businesses and assets that are the foundation of the region’s economy. The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies lies within the proposed pathway.  Skip Backus is Omega's CEO:    "The impact to campus will be visual and a disturbance of prime habitat and environment, and basically our business uses and works with the natural environment in such a way that it's core to our guest experience. There are about 25,000 people a year who come here for various program content from yoga to the arts to business leadership, etc. And we have a rural environment, country environment, natural environment, and the potential of the transmission line development would change that into sort of a semi-industrial environment."

Towers would be visible from Omega's site.  HVSEC has engaged experts to evaluate whether the proposed transmission lines are needed at all, and plans to deliver  presentations that entail environmental, visual and other impacts of the proposed transmission line projects in a New York State Public Service Commission Technical Conference on Monday, July 20th.

Meanwhile, the Public Service Commission says it needs more time to analyze need for the proposed lines, so the part of the Technical Conference that addresses need will be postponed until a future date.

PSC Public Information Officer James Denn emailed a statement in response to a request for comment, which says in part  "The interim study released [July 6th]  addresses bulk electric transmission congestion ...  recommends allowing seven proposed projects to continue to be evaluated. The revised proposals selected were intended to be primarily within existing rights-of-way and are designed to have a minimal environmental impact."