Assembly Passes Gunther Resolution Calling on Congress to Modify Energy Policy Act

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) announced the Assembly adopted a resolution she sponsored memorializing Congress to repeal or modify the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and oppose the designation of national interest electric transmission corridors (K.892).

“While the Energy Policy Act may have been well intentioned, it severely limits New York State’s powers in the fight against NYRI,” Gunther said. “It is counterproductive for the federal government to disregard the actions and recommendations of the Public Service Commission. By passing this resolution, we are sending a clear message to President Bush and Congress that New York State must be a partner in developing future energy policy, especially when it directly affects New Yorkers.”

The Energy Policy Act was promoted as a comprehensive approach to growing energy needs and designed to guarantee development of domestic fuel production and energy supply, thereby ending United States dependence on foreign oil. However, Gunther noted a provision of the law preempts what have long been fundamental powers of state and local governments and transfers the authority to approve the siting of certain transmission lines from state governments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

In April, the United States Department of Energy released drafts of two national interest electric transmission corridor designations, one being the Mid-Atlantic Area National Corridor which includes 47 of New York’s 62 counties – 76 percent of the state.

The controversial New York Regional Interconnection project, an Albany-based group of Canadian energy investors seeking permission to build a 190-mile long high-voltage power line from Oneida to Orange County could be granted approval by FERC over the objections of New York officials and the PSC.

“Designation of national interest electric transmission corridors undermines New York State’s ability to protect its residents and determine the future of our state,” Gunther said. “I strongly urge the New York congressional delegation to encourage President Bush, who as a former governor, should recognize the importance of states’ rights and revise the Energy Policy Act.”