When approving CHPE, the PSC quietly rejected many other in-state options

To the Editor:
In mid-April, with the encouragement of Governor Kathy Hochul, the New York State Public Service Commission approved two electric transmission projects: one very controversial — the Blackstone Champlain Hudson Power Express, known as CHPE; the other, the New York Clean Path, for in-state-generated power that has widespread support.

The governor and her supporters issued a news release congratulating themselves for their brilliance, falsely asserting that New York leads the nation in fighting climate change, and linking their deception to Earth Day.

Not mentioned in the news release: CHPE’s electricity would originate from greenhouse gas-emitting reservoirs built behind power stations on destroyed formerly spectacular rivers on Indigenous lands in Quebec and Labrador, Canada. Drowned forests no longer remove carbon from the atmosphere while rotting vegetation releases carbon and methane into it.

Some of these reservoirs are much larger than Albany County. Worldwide, hydro station reservoirs are major contributors to climate disruption and habitat destruction.

Rather than evaluating and voting separately on each transmission project, the Public Service Commission combined them into one vote for its Tier 4 program, forcing commissioners to approve both or neither, and allowing the governor to conflate the benefits and drawbacks.

When approving CHPE, the Public Service Commission quietly rejected many other in-state options.

The governor’s news release asserted the two projects would create many thousands of good in-state jobs even though CHPE’s own documents say CHPE construction and operation would create a few hundred temporary and a few dozen permanent jobs, respectively.

If constructed, all New Yorkers will subsidize CHPE via a surcharge each time we pay our electric bill.

Tom Ellis


Editor’s note: In a 4-to-1 vote, the Guilderland Town Board on Aug. 4, 2020 passed a resolution that will let the Champlain Hudson Power Express Inc. run underground lines through the town to bring electric power from Canada to the New York City area.

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