Locals say proposed electricity corridors would be ‘devastating’
Several local governments and organizations are protesting the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposal to construct high-power electricity corridors in the mid-Atlantic region and the Southwest. The National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETC) are expected to ease transmission congestion and constraints, but opponents say they will harm the environment, decrease property values and hurt local tax revenue.
The mid-Atlantic NIETC would require the construction of a 240-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line through parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Virginia. “I am confident the [NIETC plan] will help facilitate the infrastructure growth necessary to meet the demands of our growing economy,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said when announcing the plan.
Dan Wilson, a lobbyist with the Washington-based American Continental Group, says the effects of the NIETC will be “devastating” for the eight or nine New York counties through which the corridor will run. Madison County, N.Y., Board of Supervisors Chairman Rocco DiVeronica says the NIETC will lead to increased electricity rates, slowing economic development in the area. “Upstate New York will be losing some of the incentives we have to bring people into our communities,” he says.
U.S. Reps. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and Frank Wolf, R-Va., have introduced three bills to stop the NIETC plan. More information is available at the Washington-based National Association of Counties Web site, www.naco.org.