Update 06.23.2012 – Lots of important news!

It’s been a very busy week for Protect Ghent, and we have a lot of news, including the fact that the PSC has notified NYSEG PSC has notified NYSEG of several deficiencies in their application that they would have to correct before moving forward (more details below).  No public hearings will be set until they correct these deficiencies and re-file, so we will keep you posted on the timing.

Elected Official Support:

Last week, representatives from Protect Ghent and the Ghent Town Board met with Congressman Chris Gibson, and a representative of Assemblywoman Didi Barrett to brief them on the proposed NYSEG power line.  Separately, a number of individual citizens and Protect Ghent met with Assemblywoman Didi Barrett at her open forum in Chatham, specifically to discuss the power line issue, and we have a follow up meeting with her scheduled for next week.

We are pleased to report that Congressman Chris Gibson has sent the Public Service Commission a letter in support of our citizens, urging the PSC to take our needs into serious account during the Article VII process.  Assemblywoman Didi Barrett has also expressed to us her strong support, and we expect her to be sending a letter as well, which we will post as soon as we receive it.

Thank you to everyone who wrote letters to our representatives to help make them aware of this issue, and please feel free to write, call or email them to express your appreciation to them for standing behind our community.

Representatives of Protect Ghent and the Town Board are in the process of setting up meetings with our state and federal senators as well, to make them aware of our issue and to seek their assistance as well.  We’ll keep you posted.

We have also posted the Town Board’s request for intervenor status, and their unanimously passed resolution that details many of the questions NYSEG has yet to answer.

Public Service Commission Notice Inviting Comments & Notice of Insufficient Application:

In the meantime, the Public Service Commission has issued a Notice Inviting Comments on Waiver Motion and a Notice of Insufficient Application (both are attached & posted on our site).  The Notice Inviting Comments will be the first chance for us to weigh in formally on NYSEG’s application.

In NYSEG’s application before the PSC, they have asked the PSC to waive certain requirements of the rules governing these applications.  The PSC has issued this notice of such request, and invited comments.  Specifically, NYSEG has requested a waiver of (i) the requirement to submit detailed maps, drawings and explanations of the right-of-way for each proposed facility, including land clearing and changes to the topography for the main route and alternate routes and (ii) the requirement to file a System Impact Study.  Comments must be submitted by August 13th.  Our attorney will be submitting comments.

The Notice of Insufficient Application notifies NYSEG of several deficiencies in their application.  NYSEG has to correct these deficiencies before proceeding with their application – no public hearings will be set until these are corrected and the application re-filed.

FAQs:

Because NYSEG’s application is large and difficult to digest, we’ve put together some Frequently Asked Questions (posted on our site).  These FAQs also contain information on how you can file as an intervenor in this case by completing a form online.  We will also have copies of the intervenor form at Art Omi if you would rather prepare a print version.  Simply fill out the form and leave it there, and we will submit it for you.

Historic Resources

As we’ve mentioned before, it will be important for us to identify any and all historic and archaeological resources along the proposed route.  If you have a historic house or other building (barn, etc.), or historic or other significant archaeological resources (historic graveyard, etc.) on your property, please email us at protectghent@gmail.com and we can help you determine whether there are state or federal designations that might offer some protections for your property.

Fundraising

A number of people have asked to donate to Protect Ghent (thanks to you all!).  We will definitely need the financial support of this community, but we are still finalizing the logistics to be able to take donations.  We have an accountant working on our application for 501(c)(3) status.  If we ultimately get IRS approval, then donations made after the filing date of our application will be retroactively deemed tax deductible.  Therefore, our plan is to hold off asking for contributions until we have made the filing.  We hope to have that filed in the next couple of weeks.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to protectghent@gmail.com.

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