The proposed NYRI (New York Regional Interconnect) power line project, proposed to run through the western part of Sullivan County, has faced tremendous opposition from residents along the route, as well as county and state politicians. Until now, NYRI has refused to consider alternate routes. Well, that was before Congress and the NY Governor’s office flipped from Republican to Democrat. The political winds must have changed, because now NYRI said it will study two alternate routes — along the NY Thruway and along the existing Marcy South power line right of way.
One likely factor contributing to NYRI’s previous intransigence was an ace-in-the-hole card — the possibility that if state regulatory approval failed, NYRI could fall back on the Federal government to designate the project a strategic energy corridor, which would trump state oversight. Such a designation is more likely under a pro-business Bush administration, but time is marching on to the 2008 Presidential elections, and there may be a shift in the political winds if the Democrats succeed in grabbing the White House. It appears that NYRI is smelling the political roses, and now willing to consider other options.
We’re not out of the woods yet with NYRI. They have not abandoned the proposed route along the Columbia pipeline through Sullivan County, but have only agreed to study other routes. But its a BIG victory for the anti-NYRI forces!