Federal hearings on a proposed $2 billion power transmission line for New York City that will pass through the Capital Region have been rescheduled, after being postponed last month due to the federal government shutdown.
The only local hearing will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Colonie.
The proposed Champlain-Hudson Power Express is a plan to build a 1,000-megawatt direct-current power line from the Canadian border to New York City. It would run underwater most of the way, but pass as an underground cable through the Capital Region.
The project would provide power, probably generated by Hydro-Quebec, to New York City, which would replace the need for more-expensive power generated by fossil-fuel plants, according to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the applicant.
The project, being developed by Transmission Developers Inc. of Albany, would follow railroad rights-of-way through Saratoga, Schenectady and Albany counties.
The draft says most environmental impacts along the 336-mile route will occur only during construction. It would run along the tracks paralleling Erie Boulevard through Schenectady, and street disruptions during construction are anticipated.
Direct drilling instead of trenching will be used in Wilton to avoid disturbing the habitat of federally protected butterflies, according to the draft. It says there should be few impacts once the transmission line is operating. Electromagnetic fields from the cable will be negligible at the surface, according to the draft.
The federal environmental review is one of the requirements for obtaining a federal permit to import electricity from another country. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also is participating in the hearings in its role as regulator of the nation’s waterways.
The state Public Service Commission earlier granted the necessary state approvals for the plan, leaving the federal permit as the primary remaining regulatory hurdle. Some environmental groups signed off on the project during the state review, in return for the promise of a $117 million trust fund to benefit fisheries and the environment in the affected waterways.
The cable would be buried underneath Lake Champlain north of the Capital Region, and south of Albany, it would be in the bed of the Hudson River. It is being routed over land through the Capital Region to avoid PCB-contaminated sections of the Hudson.
Transmission Developers’ goal has been to start construction in 2014 and have power flowing through the line by 2017.
The draft environmental impact statement is available for review at the U.S. Department of Energy website, http://energy.gov, or at http://chpexpresseis.org. The deadline for written comments is Dec. 16.