Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Wheel Of Karma

Strikeslip has a nice write-up on the constitutional, and karmic, implications of the Department of Energy's pro-NYRI corridor ruling.

Sometimes "what goes around comes around," as someone astutely pointed out on Story Chat referring to Mr. Picente's complaint that the Federal National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designation for Oneida County is unconstitutional. Just like Oneida County shoved a huge garbage dump onto the small (in population) Town of Ava, the Federal Government may be about to shove the NYRI power line onto politically insignificant Oneida County.

Shame, shame on us for thinking it was OK for someone else to sacrifice their environment for our needs . . . and dismissing their complaints as "NIMBY" sentiments . . . or merely standing mute while it all happened. . . NOW we will know how it feels. Maybe we will learn a lesson from the experience, and change our ways.

Sadly, the NYRI powerline, in one form or another, is going to be built. There may be some legal maneuvering over the next few years, but we simply don't have enough political power to materially impact the outcome of this particular fight.

New York City and it's environs desperately need power. Upstate has a surplus of energy that will only continue to grow because of additional generating capacity in the form of dozens of windfarms. We also have a dearth of demand, despite what you might think from your high energy bills, because dozens of manufacturers have taken their mills and factories elsewhere.

What Upstate lacks, and New York City has in ample supply, are votes. Votes that can swing every state and national election for the candidate that says he or she will keep the power flowing. And after they get the power they're going to come for the water.

Does anyone seriously think any state or national politician will do anything that could alienate the massive block of downstate voters? Sure, they'll talk a good game and put out some reassuring press releases, but if there's even a possibility that the City is threatened by brownouts or a water shortage they'll don the ritual robes and sacrifice us on the altar of expediency.

Don't think it'll happen?

"Marcy chip fab" ring any bells? How about the state Homeland Security facility at the county airport? Or the state records complex?

Our success in capturing those facilities should give you a good idea how successful the fight against NYRI is going to be.