Keep the wealth of New York in the state

To the Editor:

I urge you to consider participating, at 4 p.m. on Dec. 1, in a New York State Public Service Commission  virtual public hearing on the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission corridor (power line) that, if built, would traverse eastern New York State through the Capital District from the Canadian border to New York City …

You must register by Monday, Nov. 30. Enter the event number — 173 685 3980 — and password: Dec01-4pm. You can also access this hearing by phone: Register by calling 1-800-342-3330. If you submit comments online or by mail, they are due Dec. 1. 

Issues that you can be raised in your verbal or written comments include:

— 1. CHPE would cost at least $3 billion to build but provide only a few hundred temporary construction jobs and a mere 26 permanent jobs in New York State. This is a cost of more than $100 million  per permanent job. Investing the same amount of money on conservation, energy efficiency, and appropriately sited wind and solar power would generate hundreds of times as many good-paying, and hopefully, unionized jobs here in New York State;

— 2. CHPE would result in many hundreds of millions of dollars of New York State wealth exported to Canada each year to pay for the imported electricity. It would be far better for our economy to keep the wealth of the state recirculating in New York rather than to perpetually and unnecessarily send it out of state; 

— 3. CHPE would be buried in trenches under Lake Champlain, under the Hudson, Harlem, and East rivers, and along railroad and road rights-of-way in Clinton, Washington, Saratoga, Schenectady, Albany, Greene, and Rockland counties. Hundreds of acres of Hudson River bed would be disturbed, fish habitat damaged, toxic wastes dislodged, and shipping disrupted;

4. CHPE is being touted by its developers as safe, renewable, and green, none of which are true.  Rivers in Quebec and Labrador are literally being destroyed by heavily subsidized provincial utilities to construct the dams, dikes, power stations, and enormous “reservoirs” behind the dams inside the dikes.  When river valleys are flooded, mercury contained in the rocks and soil is transformed into methylmercury, a powerful neurotoxin, and released into the water, where it poisons the fish and people and animals who eat the fish;  

5. Destroying rivers contributes to global warming and climate change. Once flooded and drowned, trees and other vegetation in the river valleys can no longer remove carbon from the atmosphere. Rotting vegetation releases carbon and methane into the water and air. Blocking the natural, seasonal flows of rivers to the seas by holding water in “reservoirs” for many months, ruins freshwater and saltwater fisheries and probably contributes to rapid increases of air and ocean water temperatures in the northern seas;

6. Indigenous peoples in Quebec and Labrador have complained for decades that the provincial utilities are invading their remote lands and wrecking the physical environment upon which they have lived for millennia. Hunting, fishing, and trapping habitat are often flooded; and foods and water poisoned. Native people’s objections and rejections of the projects are not respected or accepted; 

7. Electricity from Canada sold in the United States is transported many hundreds and sometimes more than 1,000 miles from where it is generated to where it is consumed. Residents of the U.S. do not see the real harm and damage their flipping a switch is causing far from their homes and businesses; and

8.  New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio enthusiastically endorse CHPE despite all the negatives associated with it. Both promote themselves as environmentalists. Neither seems to care about the social, health, and environmental impacts in Canada or damage to the Hudson River and its aquatic life CHPE construction would cause nor do they acknowledge that CHPE is not good for the state and city economies.

Tom Ellis

Solidarity Committee

of the Capital District


Editor’s note: In a 4-to-1 vote, the Guilderland Town Board on Aug. 4 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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