Rockland County Legislators Ed Day, Douglas J. Jobson and Jay Hood co-sponsored a memorializing resolution in support of NYS Senate Bill #S7391. The Senate bill would limit the use of eminent domain to activities that maximize benefit to New York State. Primarily, the legislation targets proposed energy transmission lines that would assist entities outside the United States by providing them with eminent domain benefits.
In particular the legislators are concerned about the Champlain Hudson Power Express Project, would produce energy in Canada and create a line to deliver it to areas within New York State. The project, proposed by Transmission Developers, Inc. was the subject of a public last week and another is scheduled for November.
By limiting the use of eminent domain, the proposed legislation would promote greater economic development for companies and locales within the state and Rockland County, by encouraging power generation within New York. They believe preserving the use of waterways and rights-of-way for the sole use of companies within the state would create jobs in the energy and construction sectors, provide tax benefits to local municipalities and the state, and ensure a safer and more secure energy supply for its future.
“The North Rockland Community has a long history and familiarity with energy operations and supply to the region," said Hood. "The siting and review process is onerous and protective for a variety of reasons. To think that a foreign corporation could usurp the production of local power diminishing our tax base is unacceptable.”
Jobson spoke out against the possiblity of a foreign-owned corporation controlling the state's power.
“Why would we entertain a power line that is owned by a foreign entity?” asked Jobson. “We have a water company owned by the French and now this proposal from another foreign source. We cannot afford to place the control of our power system in the hands of a foreign entity.”
The legislators said the pending legislation would provide more opportunities to utilize the Lovett and Bowline plants in North Rockland, and transform them into the primary energy sources for the region. Retrofitting those plants would lead to employment and tax opportunities that would benefit the county.
“This overly simplistic approach allowing eminent domain to cut a swath through North Rockland in order to bring power to New York City defies any sense of logic, particularly when that very same community has a ready ability to develop existing local facilities that would bring in permanent jobs and ratables here,” said Day. "Enacting this legislation would force the matter to be fairly reviewed, and I am wholeheartedly in support of that.”
The memorializing resolution calls on the State Senate to pass the proposal, the Assembly to pass an identical version in its chamber, and for the governor to sign it into law.