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VILLAGE OF TUPPER LAKE              ....

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Long Islanders Alerted to Important Election Day Amendment to State Constitution to Improve Electric Reliability for Health and Safety of Adirondack Communities at No Cost to Taxpayers: Joint Project by New York Power Authority and National Grid Balances Environmental and Energy Needs, Supported by State Officials and Environmental Groups

Contacts:
Connie M. Cullen, NYPA
914-390-8196
Wendy Ladd, National Grid
516-545-5052

October 28, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MINEOLA—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel and National Grid Vice President of Energy Solutions Services - Metro New York, Joseph Rende were joined today with representatives from National Grid, state officials and environmental advocates to draw attention to a critical constitutional amendment facing voters this Election Day.  Proposal Number One is for a “land swap” in the Adirondack Park at no cost to taxpayers.  The “land swap” will make official an important health and safety project for Park residents by improving reliability of electric service to the Adirondack’s Tri-Lakes region, especially during severe winter weather that has caused frequent brown- and black-outs. 

Known as the Tri-Lakes Reliability Project, a joint project, undertaken by NYPA, National Grid and the Adirondack villages of Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, consists of a new 23-mile, 46-kilovolt power line, as well as a new regulator station and substations upgrades to enhance service in the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondack Park.

“It is important for Long Islanders and all state voters to flip the lever for this amendment,  Proposal One, to the state constitution on Tuesday, November 3, to protect the health and safety of the residents of the Tri-Lakes communities in the Adirondack Park,” said Richard M. Kessel, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “While some ballot propositions look long, complex and possibly expensive, Long Islanders are an understanding people and should be assured their ‘yes’ votes have no cost but will bring fellow New Yorkers in Adirondack Park communities the peace of mind that their homes, schools and businesses will be safer from power outages during severe winter weather.”

 “The Tri-Lakes Reliability Project will directly benefit an area long plagued by power interruptions in bitter North Country winters.  But it has clear statewide implications.  The state’s power grid is interconnected so strengthening any part of it benefits everyone.  Moreover, as a product of extraordinary cooperation between the public and private sectors and between the energy and environmental communities, the new line could provide a model for critical energy projects,” Kesssel added.

“National Grid's commitment to safe, reliable service stretches from Long Island to the most northern areas of our state," said Tom King, president of National Grid, U.S. "The Tri-Lakes Reliability Project was necessary to meet the fundamental needs and ensure the health and safety of area residents, especially during severe winter weather. That is why National Grid; the New York Power Authority, the villages of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake; the Adirondack Park Agency; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and environmental groups such as the Adirondack Council, all agreed it was important to move ahead with construction.”   

"Protecting New York’s natural resources is fundamental to keeping our waters pure and our air clean. The constitutional amendment proposal I sponsored will prevent the destruction of old growth forest and maintain habitat for endangered species by allowing a power line to be run along a public highway instead of pristine wilderness,” said Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney—Chairman of the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and sponsor of the constitutional amendment.  I urge Long Islanders to vote yes on this important effort to preserve New York’s natural environment."

"On November 3rd, voters across the state will have the chance to vote in favor of an important constitutional amendment,” said Senator Betty Little, who originated the constitutional amendment legislation in the New York State Senate.  “For years, families and seniors I represent have suffered through the cold winter months losing power over and over again.  This amendment ensures a much more reliable power source for them, but does so in a way that is good for the environment also.  It makes sense and it is something that everyone agrees is needed.  I am hopeful voters on Long Island and throughout the state will understand the urgency and importance of this amendment and vote for it on Election Day."

The newly constructed power line crosses a two-mile stretch of Forest Preserve land next to an existing highway/utility corridor along the side of State Route 56 upstate. The use of Forest Preserve land usually requires a New York State Constitutional Amendment. As part of the process to secure a constitutional amendment, two separately elected sessions of the New York State Legislature passed legislation authorizing the state to convey to National Grid less than six acres of Forest Preserve land needed to construct the power line. The proposed amendment will be on the November 3, 2009 ballot for a statewide vote.

The permitted route selected is more environmentally-sound, least intrusive, shorter and more practical than the route originally considered, and was agreed upon after significant public discussion and input. Approval of the amendment will bring substantial benefits to the Adirondack Park with the addition of more than 43 acres of forest land being conveyed by National Grid to New York State for conservation in St. Lawrence County, in exchange for less than six acres of Forest Preserve land the state will deed to National Grid for the line.

“Citizens Campaign for the Environment strongly supports this constitutional amendment. It represents a balanced approach to dealing with forest preserve protection and the needs of residents and visitors to the Adirondack Park” said William Cooke, director of government relations, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

“The Adirondack Council is pleased to support Ballot Proposal One that allows the placement of this much needed power line along the side of Route 56 in upstate St. Lawrence County.  The people of Long Island and all New York voters need to look for this amendment on next Tuesday's ballot.  It is a good deal for the public, for the Adirondack Park and for the people of Tupper Lake," said Brian L. Houseal, executive director, Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Park's largest environmental organization.  "The site-specific amendment would not affect any other area of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and doesn't set any precedent that might weaken the protection for public lands.  In fact, it benefits the Adirondack Park because it avoids an environmentally damaging, six-mile long detour through the forests west of the road that would have crossed 95 separate wetlands and streams, harmed water quality, prevented future expansion of the Forest Preserve and damaged the state's best habitat for the endangered spruce grouse."

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the current and past Village Board’s to extend my extreme appreciation to the New York Power Authority; National Grid; all the State Agencies and environmental groups for working harmoniously to complete the Tri-Lakes Project.  The completion of this project is something the entire area has needed to ensure the health and safety not only for Tupper Lake but also Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and other surrounding communities,” said Michael Desmarais, mayor, Village of Tupper Lake.  “It will be obvious that the quality of life will be enhanced by the completion of the project.  In the winter of 2000 and 2001, the Village of Tupper Lake established a commission to resolve the transmission woes in this region and this is the results.  How appropriate that what started here in Tupper Lake, now ends here in Tupper Lake.”

“Improved reliability and adequate power supply is a huge step forward for the entire Tri-Lakes region.  Lake Placid’s economy continues to grow, evidenced by construction projects encompassing local housing, resort hotels, shopping center, and a new conference undertaken by the Olympic Region Development Authority. Lake Placid’s primary industry is tourism, providing much needed employment not only for local residents but also for the entire region. The travel industry continues to demand updated facilities placing ever-increasing load on infrastructure,” said Craig Randall, mayor, Lake Placid.  “Without the support and vision of the New York Power Authority and other New York  State agencies involved with the new transmission line, this critical and reliable supply of power required to support Lake Placid’s ability to maintain a competitive edge with updated facilities with related employment opportunities for our constituents would not have occurred. We appreciate the leadership NYPA has provided.”

"As we rapidly approach winter in the Tri-Lakes, residents will certainly appreciate the enhanced services,” said Assemblywoman Janet Duprey.  “This is also the time to remind everyone to vote yes on the Constitutional Amendment on November 3rd.”

"I salute the hard work of so many who persevered to bring reliable power to the Tri-Lakes region," said Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward.

“The Tri-Lakes Reliability Power project is critical to the public safety and economic sustainability of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid,” said Terry Martino, executive director, Adirondack Park Agency. “The Agency thoroughly reviewed this project and determined construction involving Forest Preserve for a short distance along NYS Route 56 minimized potential adverse impacts to wetlands and spruce grouse habitat associated with the six mile alternative route around the Forest Preserve parcel.  The Agency encourages public support for the proposed amendment to Article 14 of the NY State Constitution to finalize permissions for this important link in the Tri-Lakes power grid."

“This constitutional amendment is a reasonable, common-sense solution that will benefit the people of the Adirondacks while enhancing the protection of the region’s natural resources,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club. “This plan will not only ensure a reliable source of electric power for residents of the Tri-Lakes Region, it will add valuable lands to the Adirondack Forest Preserve.”

“We believe the amendment and land exchange makes sense because this is an important electric reliability project, it saves many acres of working forests owned by private landowners adjoining the highway, and protects sensitive Adirondack plants, animals, and wetland systems. It is also a net gain for the Adirondack Forest Preserve,” says Protect the Adirondack’s Executive Director David H. Gibson.

"As a result of the project along Routes 56 and 3, Tupper Lake and Tri-Lakes regional residents have better power reliability with far less potential impact to the Adirondack Park's boreal habitat, forests and wetlands," states Dan Plumley, director of conservation programs, Protect the Adirondacks.

Proposal One has the support of the three major environmental organizations in the Adirondack Park which are: the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club and Protect the Adirondacks.

About NYPA:

The New York Power Authority finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  It is the nation's largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  About 75 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.  NYPA uses no tax money or state debt. www.nypa.gov.

About National Grid:

National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world.  It is an international energy delivery company.  In the U.S., National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, and manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).  It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. National Grid also owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation that provides power to over one million LIPA customers.

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