As 2014 drew to a close, significant decisions by New York State move two of our recent Seven to Save listings into – or at least closer – to the SAVED column.
When it comes to the proposed industrialization of New York State’s rural landscape, the League takes a strong stand for the protection of New York’s historic and cultural resources. In 2012 the League listed the resources in the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions on our Seven to Save list due to the threat posed by high-volume hydrofracking.
For two years, the League worked with local activists, delivered public testimony, and provided extensive comments in response to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) draft environmental impact study of the practice.
As a result, the impact of hydrofracking on New York’s historic communities and resources, previously overlooked, rose to much higher relief. This awareness, in part, convinced DEC to determine that New York State was no place for high-volume hydrofracking and all future uses of the practice will be banned. This is a Seven to Save success story that we are very proud of.
Power Line Development
The NYS Public Service Commission (“PSC”) also took an important step back in the rush to develop new electrical transmission capacity in the Hudson Valley. Just last year, the League placed the historic and cultural resources of Columbia County on our Seven to Save list of endangered places due to proposals for monster power lines in the Valley.
These proposals were designed to respond to perceived needs in reliability and capacity for the grid, but the League was troubled by the potential effect that these proposals would have on historic farms, communities and homes in their path.
We joined with Scenic Hudson and others to form the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition and the group’s work began to call into question the need for such power line expansion given new sources of energy generation coming on line in the state and other factors.
The PSC heard our concerns and announced in late December that; “After carefully considering comments from stakeholders and members of the public, and in light of other proceedings related to improving energy efficiency and modernizing the grid, we will carefully reexamine the need for transmission upgrades to address existing transmission congestion problems.” The PSC is now calling for a study group on the issue with a report due in June. This is a big win for the coalition and there will be extensive preparations over the next six months to prepare for this formal proceeding.