By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO September 26, 2006 Susan Zimet, candidate for New York State Senate to represent Sullivan County, and New York State Senator Thomas Duane of New York City, held a press conference Thursday in support of a counterproposal to New York Regional Interconnect’s (NYRI) plan to run power lines through the Catskills. They offered up an earlier proposal by New York City to run transmission lines between a New York City and New Jersey corridor.
With a senator from New York City, Zimet was looking to give credibility to the plan. She attacked the plan of New York State Senator John Bonacic to limit the ability of corporations to take land by eminent domain, since the Energy Act of 2005 would still allow the federal government to do so without recourse.
“We can only protect our constituents by being proactive,” said Zimet. “Without solutions, we play into the hands of the federal government.” She said another solution would be to site the lines under the Thruway.
Even though he represents Manhattan, Duane said he is still concerned about the environment in the Catskills. He said his family’s roots date back to the first mayor of New York City after the Revolutionary War.
Relatives on his mother’s side of the family lived in the Town of Delaware and are buried in Callicoon., and Senator Duane now owns a home in Callicoon.
Zimet was also joined by fellow Democrats, New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Chris Cunningham
Yesterday, New York State Senator John Bonacic responded by saying that Zimet is pandering to New York City voters and flip flopping on the issue. He said his eminent domain bill was supported in a bipartisan way by both Senator Duane and Assemblywoman Gunther.
“She is spreading misinformation to confuse the voters,” Bonacic stated.
Bonacic said that NYRI is applying for eminent domain powers under the state. But under Bonacic’s bill, they would be stopped.
NYRI could still apply for federal eminent domain power, and Bonacic is pushing his constituents to tell United State Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer not to support such a proposition. In addition, Bonacic said it would be highly unlikely for the Congress to overrule the state on this matter.
“My mission is to stop the NYRI line or any power line that will have a negative effect.”
Bonacic said this was Zimet’s third different proposal on the issue from wanting to place the lines under the Hudson River, under the thruway and now between a New York City and New Jersey corridor.
The senator said the Catskills do not have an energy problem, so there is no need for any power lines here. If New York City has an energy problem, the power lines should be there.
Bonacic said the senate passed an Article 10 bill to place power plants in New York City, but the bill did not pass in the Assembly.