Monday, March 1, 2010

Westchester BOL Passes Transmission Line Clear Cut Moratorium Resolution!

Tonight, the Westchester Board of Legislators passed the LORAX-originated Moratorium resolution by a vote of 15-0! Special thanks goes to Legislator Abinati and the chairs of the Energy and Environment committees, as well as to Committee Counsel Chris Crane. Thanks also to LORAX members Patricia Podolak and Marvin Baum, and to friends of the working group including Amy Kupferberg who showed up tonight to speak to the legislators.

Read the resolution here.

Here is the text of the statement which I gave at the meeting during the public comment period:

My name is Mark Gilliland and I live in Irvington, NY. I am the Chairperson of the Greenburgh Environmental Forum's LORAX working group - which originated the resolution before this body tonight concerning a moratorium on the transmission line right-of-way clear cutting of our trees.

Once a moratorium "time out" is in place, we have an opportunity to find a solution to current indiscriminate clear cutting - through dialog with the Public Service Commission (PSC), Con Edison and other Transmission Line Operators (such as NYSEG and O&R), as well as concerned municipal officials and the public-at-large.

This resolution further calls for the PSC to re-examine and update its 2005 guidelines for vegetation management. This time around, the required Environmental Impact Analysis must be undertaken in a fully transparent manner with both public and scientific input.

The LORAX working group is eager to work with the PSC and with Con Ed in creation of these new, environmentally-friendly and property-friendly guidelines. We are recommending the following 5 point plan as a basis of action:

1) Restitution or mitigation for homeowners and municipalities already adversely affected by the line clearings.

2) Public review and update of the original PSC 2004 SEQR filing to include a full environmental impact statement complete with alternatives and proposed mitigations.

3) Modernization of Vegetative Management guidelines for the transmission line right-of-way (ROW) to encompass the new draft federal standard FAC-003-2, allowing for a wire-zone / border-zone "tiered management" approach based upon distance from the transmission line centerline.

4) Advanced notification by utilities for all targeted property owners (private and municipal), including on-site consultations and written descriptions of proposed pruning and removals.

5) Improved training, supervision and QA of line clearing contractors.

In order to help start these important discussions with the PSC, I urge the Board of Legislators to pass the moratorium resolution tonight. Thank-you.




To watch streaming video of last night's BOL meeting, go to the BOL website. Then click on icon at right titled "Board Video" and find the MARCH 1 video in the archive list.

1 comment:

-mg- said...

Journal News coverage of Monday's BOL actions combined with Con Ed's comments on the continued power outages due to last week's storm:

http://www.lohud.com/article/20100302/NEWS02/3020339/Con-Ed-says-tree-cutting-practices-prevented-snow-outages