Outdated NY Public Service Commission permit
In 2013, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a “Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need” under state law for CHPE. 2013 CHPE State of NY Public Service Commission Permit This Certificate (a permit) was based on a negotiated settlement among some non-profits and government agencies. There was never an evidentiary hearing on the impacts of Canadian hydropower generation on Indigenous people in Canada, rivers, forests or the climate. The PSC and federal agencies refused to consider the comments of Indigenous Uashaunnuat in Canada who wrote to the PSC to oppose the corridor due to the impacts on their ancestral lands and ways of life. The comments are here: Uashaunnuat, Innu of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Comments on CHPE Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS and to Conduct Public Scoping Meetings (August 2, 2010)The PSC record can be viewed on the PSC website: Docket No. 10-T-0139 http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?Mattercaseno=10-T-0139
In 2020, Hydro-Quebec is facing widespread opposition from Indigenous communities in Canada. In October 2020, the Innu of Labrador sued Hydro-Quebec for $4 billion for damage caused by 50 years of hydropower destruction. On December 3, 2020, the Innu, Atikamekw, Anishnabeg Coalition of Quebec who call Hydro-Quebec a “state run extortion scheme” joined with the Innu of Labrador to oppose exports of hydropower from their territories.
As of 2020, CHPE faces major roadblocks:
-Before it can begin construction, CHPE has to have a 2020 contract with a buyer for 75% of the 1,000 MW which it does not have as of December 2020 (required by the PSC permit)
–Indigenous First Nations are challenging Blackstone’s legal right to sell this electricity to New York, claiming Hydro-Quebec has unlawfully built and operated hydropower installations on their ancestral lands for over 50 years www.50yearspastdue. ca and www.quebechydroclash.com
-The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has to provide notice and comment for changes to the CHPE route and must issue a revised Presidential Permit for the new route (stated in the new Presidential Permit 481) The 2014 CHPE US Department of Energy Presidential Permit was transferred in 2020 to a limited liability company and a new permit issued to a new entity, CHPE, LLC (Presidential Permit 481, July 21, 2020). NAMRA Comments to the Department of Energy on CHPE (May 18, 2020) Center for Biological Diversity, NAMRA and the Innu Nation also assert an EIS is needed for impacts on rivers, dams, the climate and Indigenous rights in Canada – environmental, economic and social impacts never studied by the PSC or DOE.
-The U.S. Department of Energy and National Marine Fisheries Service have to undertake and complete a satisfactory biological report of endangered Atlantic Sturgeon habitat that will be impacted by burying the cables in the Hudson River
-Concerns of seven municipalities on the Hudson River that get their drinking water from the River have to be addressed Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council Comments (December 1, 2020)
-Concerns about navigation and safety in the Hudson River raised by the Tow Boat and Harbor Carriers Association of N.Y./N.J. have to be addressed Towboat and Harbor Carriers Association of NY/NJ Comments November 2020
-The environmental impact study for CHPE’s 2013 permit is outdated. EIS is here: 2014 CHPE Environmental Impact Statement and 2010 CHPE US Army Corps of Engineers Permit Application is here. CHPE keeps getting extension of the original permit but must do a new environmental impact statement for the route changes and newly designated Atlantic Sturgeon habitat. See, 2015 CHPE US Army Corps of Engineers Permit
On October 9, 2020, CHPE applied to the PSC for permission to move segments of the cable route, cooling stations, and cable splices in two locations: 1. from an industrial park in the Bronx to Randall’s Island Park, and 2. to a new route through Route 9W in Rockland County, NY. See North American Megadam Resistance Comments filed with PSC December 9, 2020.
In November, 2019 Riverkeeper, a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, withdrew its support for CHPE citing environmental concerns, impacts on Indigenous communities in Canada, and the new dams being built in Canada for exporting hydroelectricity to New York. November 18, 2019, Hudson Riverkeeper Withdraws Support for CHPE
** PRESS RELEASE-December 9, 2020: Controversy over Blackstone’s request to the NY Public Service Commission for route changes to go through Randall’s Island Park and to change Rockland County Route.
In 2019 and 2020, CHPE previously sought permit modifications from the PSC, which NAMRA opposed. CHPE also sought a new Presidential Permit to transfer the project to a new shell limited liability corporation. Some of the many opposition comments are below:
Solidarity Committee of the Capital District Comments (May 27, 2020)
Lakeside Farms Comments (January 8, 2020)
Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment Comments (May 23, 2020)
Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment Comments (June 2, 2020)
North American Megadam Resistance Alliance Comments (June 2, 2020)
Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Comments (June 15, 2020)
Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Member Comments (April 19, 2012)
New York Public Service Commission Public Hearing Transcript (December 1, 2020)
CHPE’s October 9, 2020 permit application documents are here:
Appendix B NYSDOT maps
Senator McCallum Request for Investigation (May 30, 2019)
Bill de Blasio’s energy plan isn’t as green as it looks Guardian, 2019