Sunday, August 22, 2010

PSC Public Hearings: Important Lobbying Notes, Schedule Info & Alternative Submission Methods

There are three important changes in vegetation management which all of us can lobby the PSC to include in any updated guidelines based upon  findings from the current case (Case 10-E-0155): 

1) environmental analysis – wetlands, water courses, habitats, impact of loss of tree buffers on air, noise, visual pollution, etc. Like any SEQRA review, the goal should be towards minimizing detrimental impacts. (Analysis should be segment-by-segment, not state-wide.)

2) notification – a minimum of 60 days verified notification for homeowners/property owners, a minimum of 30 days for a town-hall like public meeting to review and receive feedback on planned vegetation management. (During clearing operations, a dedicated 7/24 emergency complaint hotline should be available for property owners and municipal officials.)

3) mitigation – mandatory replanting, stomwater and erosion controls, etc. must be built into the vegetation management plans from the start. Mitigation costs should not be borne by individual residents or property owners for impacts caused by utility line clearing. (Full mitigation for past clearing activities during 2007 thru 2010 in Rockland and Westchester must be mandated by PSC, as well!)

Another change in PSC guidelines that the LORAX Working Group has been advocating is the adoption of an eco-friendly "tiered management" approach to vegetation management along transmission lines:

This means that the farther from the centerline of the transmission towers one goes towards the edges of the right-of-way (ROW), the taller the vegetation that can safely remain standing. So, at a distance of 50 feet from the centerline, a tree perhaps 35ft tall is "safe". At 100 feet from the centerline, a tree 80ft tall is "safe".

Thus, rather than mindlessly clear cutting the entire ROW corridor (resulting in significant environmental, health and property value impacts), a more natural "tiered" landscape remains that does not compromise line safety. Tiered management reduces habitat loss, erosion, air quality impacts, etc. It also reduces the foothold for invasive plants and expanding deer populations.

Finally, with a focus on the need for greater environmental awareness, vegetative buffers must be maintained. The PSC guidelines from 2005 (Case 04-E-0822) should be modified to require that riparian & wetland buffers, view-shed buffers and road-crossing buffers (to name a few) must be maintained and enhanced, not clear cut.
Plan to come out and make your voice heard by the PSC!
Scheduled local hearings:

• Monday, August 23 - 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Ramapo Town Hall, 237 Route 59, Airmont.

• Monday, August 23 - 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Yonkers Public Library, Riverfront branch, 1 Larkin Center.

• Tuesday, August 24 - 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Greenburgh Public Library, 300 Tarrytown Road, Elmsford.

Other ways to comment:

• 800-335-2120, press "1" and refer to case 10-E-0155.

• www.dps.state.ny.us/comment.html. In the search box, enter case number 10-E-0155.

• Write to Jaclyn A. Brilling, secretary, Public Service Commission, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223-1350 and refer to case 10-E-0155.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PSC - NOTICE OF PUBLIC STATEMENT HEARINGS CASE 10-E-0155

NYSPSC has scheduled public hearings on Case 10-E-0155, Electric Utility Transmission Line Right-of-Way Management Practices. Hearings in Westchester County are on August 23 & August 24. See below and full PSC notice released 8/10/10.

Case 10-E-0155, Proceeding on Motion of the Commission as to New York State's Electric Utility Transmission Right-of-Way Vegetation Management Practices.

Public statement hearings are scheduled as follows:

Rockland County
August 23, 2010
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Ramapo Town Hall
237 Route 59 Suffern, NY 10901

Westchester County
August 23, 2010
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Yonkers Public Library
Riverfront Library Branch
1 Larkin Center
Yonkers, NY 10701

August 24, 2010
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Greenburgh Public Library
300 Tarrytown Road
Elmsford, NY 10523

Orange County
August 24, 2010
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Village of Montgomery Senior Center
36 Bridge Street Montgomery, NY 12549

Onondaga County
September 7, 2010
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Syracuse City Hall
Common Council Chambers
233 East Washington St., 3rd Floor
Syracuse, NY 13210

Albany County
September 13, 2010
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Albany Public Library
Main Library
161 Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12210