01-08-2009, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: staten island
New Threat to the Delaware River System
hileresevoir levels, and water release rates have been the main threats to the Delaware River we've been focusing on lately, a new threat has emerged. This just in-
New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. (NYRI) is proposing an electric transmission corridor in the Upper Delaware River Valley. The proposed 1,200 megawatt high-voltage power line would begin in New York near Utica and extend 190 miles to Rock Tavern in Orange County, following the Upper Delaware River for 73.4 miles. The transmission corridor would require clear-cutting all trees and vegetation and regular spraying of herbicides within a 100-foot wide swath along the river, harming fish and eliminating significant amounts of wildlife habitat and beneficial vegetation along the river’s edge. The proposed power line would also cross numerous streams, creeks and other wetlands along the river. Moreover, the power line construction would also require buying out local landowners and taking property by eminent domain.
Construction of this power line would do irreparable harm not only to the Upper Delaware, but would set a bad precedent for the management of all rivers in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Indeed, the 1986 Wild and Scenic River management plan for the Upper Delaware specifically rejects major electric transmission lines within the river corridor as an “incompatible use.” Ignoring that clear direction and doing permanent damage to the unique values that led to the Upper Delaware’s inclusion in the System in 1978 would threaten the ability of river managers around the country to protect our unique Wild and Scenic Rivers.
What’s At Stake
Congress originally included the Upper Delaware River in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System for its scenic, recreational, historic, environmental and cultural assets. The intent was to protect this corridor for the enjoyment and benefit of present and future generations. The power line would diminish recreational opportunities and the revenue they generate for local communities,nd would decrease property values. It would cause harm to the river and the wildlife it supports, and it would undermine the spirit of the National Wild and Scenic designation for rivers across America.
New York state does need to address the reliability of its electric transmission system, but it needs to be done in an environmentally responsible manner that respects the rights of local communities and property owners and serves the public interest. The NYRI proposal does not meet that standard. Alternatives including locating the power line along other pre-existing transmission corridors would be significantly less damaging to the local economy and wildlife.
What Must Be Done
The DOE is considering an application to designate the Upper Delaware River Valley as part of a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor (NIETC), which would allow NYRI to circumvent New York state’s review and permitting process. The DOE should reject this application. The proposed project would lie almost entirely within New York state, and the New York State Public Service Commission permitting process should not be trumped by a NIETC designation that would be squarely at odds with the river’s National Wild and Scenic designation.
Furthermore, to ensure the reliability of New York state’s electricity system, the DOE should look at the recommendations from New York state’s regional transmission planning organization, the Independent System Operator
(NYISO). All alternatives that do not endanger a valuable public resource should be fully evaluated and considered.
Peter Raabe, American Rivers, (202) 347-7550 Ext. 3006, [email protected]
Marcia Nehemiah, Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition, (570) 685-8774, [email protected]
Sue Currier, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, (570) 226-3164, [email protected]"I've never heard anything good come out of combining a river with stuff like clear-cutting and herbicides. I don't know about you, but I'd like wild & scenic rivers, whether they've been officially designated or not, to stay wild & scenic.