High Voltage Power Lines: CT Siting Council General Link;

Happy ending coming?  Knopp petitions state
By DIRK PERREFORT - Hour Staff Writer (Saturday, May 10, 2003)
NORWALK --Mayor Alex Knopp sent a petition to the state this week requesting that an underground alternative be developed for the proposed high-voltage transmission line by Northeast Utilities.  The request by Knopp to the Connecticut Siting Council came after agreement was made by the four other towns affected by the proposal -- Redding, Wilton, Weston and Bethel -- that allows for much of the 345 kilovolt line to be placed underground.  However, the agreement included that the transmission line would be placed above ground through Norwalk on 130-foot steel towers as originally proposed. Some city residents were upset that the city was not included in the agreement.

"The failure to require a formulation of an underground alternative in Norwalk would set a terrible precedent for municipalities in the future because it would violate traditional notions of fairness and equity," stated the petition, which was sent on Wednesday. "If the Siting Council were to ignore alternatives at this stage in the case," the
petition continues, "it would be enabling an applicant to gain consideration of a version of a highly contested and controversial transmission route that substantially affects a municipality but from which that municipality was excluded during the final formulation."

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at THE HOUR (Norwalk, CT) website]

Power line vote likely in June
By HAROLD F. COBIN - Norwalk HOUR Correspondent, Saturday, May 3, 2003
NORWALK -- The chairman of the state's Siting Council -- the body that will decide whether a controversial new power line will run above or below ground through Norwalk -- said on Friday the panel tries to reach reasonable decisions based on local input.  "I think we're all sensitive to the fact that we like to make decisions at a local level, but here's a state agency which can override local planning and zoning," said Pamela B. Katz.

A resident of Simsbury who holds degrees in environmental studies and engineering, Katz said she is doing "meet and greet tours" as the council's new chairman, conferring with environmental groups, municipal officials and utilities to determine how to make "good decisions for both the regulated industries and towns."

"I really want to encourage all the affected towns to participate fully in the hearing process," said Katz. "The questions that you generate at a local level are very helpful to our process."  The nine-member Siting Council serves as arbiter between utilities and local interests in deciding where the infrastructure of power companies, hazardous waste generators, and telecommunications providers will be placed. It held a public hearing in the city Wednesday on the proposal by Northeast Utilities to bring a
transmission line into Norwalk on 130-foot-tall poles.

"The (siting) process works best when we have a lot of local input, because sometimes we literally work in a vacuum," Katz said.  Named chairman in January, Katz rejoined the council in 1997 after serving on it in the mid-80's, and has been a member of various state and local boards and commissions for 25 years.  "It's a new day for them" said State Representative Robert Duff, D-137th Dist., of Katz's appointment as chairman of the council.  Katz spoke to area officials and reporters in City Hall Friday at Duff's invitation.

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at THE HOUR (Norwalk, CT) website]

NU presents details of power line burial plan
By Matt Breslow ADVOCATE Staff Writer
May 2, 2003

Northeast Utilities yesterday unveiled designs for a proposed 69-mile, $500 million power line from Norwalk to Middletown, which the company hopes to bury under local streets.  Under NU's favored scheme, the 345-kilovolt line would begin at the company's New Canaan Avenue substation and run under local roads before reaching
Route 1 and heading for Milford.

NU's preferred plan then calls for the oil-filled cable to run northeast from Milford to Middletown atop three types of poles ranging in height from about 80 feet to 130 feet.
The company also outlined several alternative designs in an eight-volume document NU delivered yesterday to leaders of 24 towns that could be affected by the   Norwalk-to-Middletown line.  The only option affecting Norwalk would involve stretching the line atop poles averaging 130 feet high from the Broad River substation to Wilton along the Route 7 right-of-way.  "It's not our preferred or primary route under consideration," NU spokesman Frank Poirot said yesterday.

Mayor Alex Knopp yesterday hailed NU's plan to bury the Norwalk-to-Middletown line in the city , calling it "very good news."  At a public hearing Wednesday, Knopp railed against NU's plan to use 130-foot poles for another 345-kV line that is slated to run from Norwalk to Bethel.  "The preferred route in (the Norwalk-to-Middletown) application to go underground . . . from Norwalk to (Milford) is much more preferable than the skyscraper tower route," Knopp said. "But it just shows that there is a better underground option -- not just for the Norwalk-to-(Milford) phase . . . but also for the Bethel-to-Norwalk phase."

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Stamford ADVOCATE website]

Cable Pact Gets Power Flowing
June 26, 2004
By STEVE GRANT, Courant Staff Writer
The Cross-Sound Cable electric transmission line went into service Friday
after a key concession from Connecticut negotiators, who dropped their
insistence that a 750-foot-long section of the cable had to be laid more
deeply before the line could be activated.

The line, 2 years old but used only temporarily and on an emergency basis
until Friday, was energized at 12:25 p.m., according to New York Gov.
George Pataki.

The action came after utility and regulatory officials in the two states,
pressured to do something by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
worked out a deal late Thursday to resolve differences.

The concession from Connecticut negotiators apparently ends three years
of controversy and legal battles that led to political tensions between
Connecticut and New York officials.

The Long Island Power Authority, meanwhile, which desperately wants the
power from the new transmission line, agreed to pick up half the cost of repairing
an old, damaged transmission line between Norwalk and Northport, N.Y. Total
cost of that project is about $95 million, according to Arthur J. Rocque Jr.,
Connecticut's environmental protection commissioner.

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Hartford COURANT website]

Cross-Sound Cable power nixed;  Judge says state moratorium constitutional
By KEN DIXON (CT POST April 15, 2003)

HARTFORD - A state Superior Court judge rejected a request by the Cross-Sound Cable Co. to turn on the juice along its long-stalled high-voltage power line to Long Island.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Sen. George L. Gunther, R-Stratford, hailed the decision Monday as appropriate, because the company failed to bury the 330-megawatt cable to the required depth under New Haven Harbor.

The head of Long Island Sound programming for the state Department of Environmental Protection said he had not seen a copy of the court decision, but it appeared to support state regulations.  The company responded Monday that it is "disappointed" and reviewing its options.

Judge Lynda B. Munro ruled that Cross-Sound Cable, a subsidiary of TransEnergie US, failed to prove that a statewide moratorium on new transmission lines was unconstitutional.  Munro, in the decision released through Blumenthal's office, said that the burden on interstate commerce from the continued inactivity of the power line
does not outweigh the environmental benefits.

"Maintaining a healthy seabed provides clean water, and healthy fisheries and shellfish beds, which in turn provide a safe food source and environment, and a viable job market for the welfare of the state's citizens," Munro wrote in a 43-page ruling.  When it laid the 24-mile-long cable last year, the company failed to reach the mandated depth of 48-feet below mean low water in the harbor channel because of submerged rock and other obstacles along hundreds of feet of New Haven Harbor.

Opponents of the cable claimed that failure forced the project into the realm of the legislative moratorium on new power lines that was approved by the General Assembly last year and signed into law by Gov. John G. Rowland.  "The court rightly rejected Cross Sound's effort to evade its clear legal obligations under the permits and its attempt to end-run state oversight and the legislative moratorium," Blumenthal said.

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the CT POST website]

Rowland To Clear The Way For Cable;  Order Would Allow Cross-Sound Power Line
April 11, 2002
By AL LARA, Courant Staff Writer

Gov. John G. Rowland will veto a bill that would have imposed a one-year moratorium on all new energy lines under Long Island Sound - including a 24-mile transmission cable whose installation is set to begin as soon as next week.

After the state Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure and sent it to his desk Wednesday, Rowland said he would issue an executive order Friday for a siix-month moratorium on energy lines both in the Sound and over land.

The governor's plan also would allow installation of the controversial Cross Sound Cable between New Haven and Brookhaven, L.I., which has all regulatory approvals.

A source familiar with the governor's plan said Rowland believed stalling that project could leave the state liable for millions in court damages.  Laying of the $135 million cable, which would involve plowing a 6-foot-deep trench across the Sound floor, could begin as soon as April 19 unless the legislature were to override Rowland's veto.

The cable is one of five electric-transmission lines or natural gas pipelines proposed to cross under Long Island Sound. The moratorium was sought so officials could assess the projects' collective environmental effect and consider coordinating their placement.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 31-2 in favor of the moratorium after it passed the House 138-11 last week.

In his seven years as governor, Rowland has not had a veto overridden. But with 90 percent of the legislature favoring the bill, Capitol observers late Wednesday were wondering whether that record would remain intact.  Rowland is expected to argue that his plan is better because it addresses overland transmission lines not included in the legislation and because it would avoid costly litigation that probably would result from halting an approved cable.

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Hartford COURANT website]

Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 6:59:51 AM MST
Foes of Sound cable renew objections as Army OK seems likely
                     By CHARLES WALSH


                     Opponents of a proposed New Haven Harbor power cable expressed heightened
                     concerns about possible environmental damage from dredging Monday after the
                     Army Corps of Engineers said it is likely to approve the controversial electric project.

                     Army Corps officials said they are leaning toward approving the application because
                     the Cross-Sound Cable company agreed to increase the depth the cable is buried to
                     13 feet under the harbor's main navigation channel. Originally Cross-Sound proposed
                     burying the cable only 6 feet under the channel.

                     At that time opponents said the cable would interfere with regular dredging of the
                     channel and might be struck when large ships drop anchor.

                     "I am very distressed and disturbed," said state Attorney General Richard
                     Blumenthal, "a deeper channel means more sediment going into Long Island Sound
                     and therefore more environmental damage."

                     Blumenthal, who threatened to take legal action if the project is approved, said he
                     hopes the state Department of Environmental Protection will schedule a public
                     hearing on the matter. "This project is huge and the impact will be humongous," he

                     State Sen. George "Doc" Gunther, R-Stratford, one of the most vociferous
                     opponents of the New Haven cable, said he believes the deeper dredging will do
                     more damage to the harbor and Long Island Sound itself.

                    [Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the CT POST website]

Article Last Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 12:00:00 AM MST (Connecticut POST)

               Bill hits L.I. Sound pipelines
                       By CHARLES WALSH


                       With one underwater electrical cable project nearing final approval and a gas
                       pipeline under review, a bill seeking a one-year moratorium on applications for all
                       cross-Long Island Sound cables and pipelines is gaining momentum in the state

                       State Sen. George "Doc" Gunther, R-Stratford, the bill's sponsor, said he
                       received verbal assurances from Rep. Jessie Stratton, D-Canton, chairman of
                       the Legislature's Environment Committee, that hearings on the measure will be
                       scheduled in March.

                       The bill also calls for a non-partisan committee to conduct an environmental
                       impact study of Long Island Sound cable and pipe crossings, and the possibility
                       of establishing an ecologically acceptable corridor for utility lines.

                       The Connecticut Siting Council already approved TransEnergie US Ltd.'s Cross
                       Sound Connector project, a 330-megawatt cable from New Haven Harbor to
                       Shoreham, Long Island. All that remains before construction can begin are
                       approvals from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Army
                       Corps of Engineers.

                       The cable will follow the harbor's dredged shipping channel. It was heavily
                       criticized by state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and by New Haven
                       Mayor John DeStefano. Blumenthal believes that the electricity will benefit only
                       Long Island. DeStefano fears the cable will make dredging difficult and could
                       interfere with shipping. Gunther and some environmentalists fear the work
                       required to lay the cable will damage the Sound's marine life.

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the CT POST website]                     

Underwater Power Line Gains Ground
 January 4, 2002
 By JOHN M. MORAN, Courant Staff Writer

 State regulators Thursday approved plans for the construction of a high-voltage, underwater electric cable crossing Long Island Sound, but opponents vowed to continue fighting the proposal.

The Connecticut Siting Council's unanimous vote is a major step forward for the Cross-Sound Cable project, which would see a 24-mile transmission line placed between New Haven and Brookhaven, N.Y.  But in order to proceed, the project still requires approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And it faces opposition from both environmentalists and those who say the cable will hurt Connecticut economically.

Council Chairman Mortimer A. Gelston said the latest proposal from Cross-Sound Cable Co. addressed the council's earlier concerns by rerouting the transmission cable away from shellfish beds and into an existing shipping lane.  Gelston said the 330-megawatt transmission line would reinforce the energy network in the Northeast by better connecting Connecticut with Long Island.  "It just strengthens our regional ties. We can't live as an
island," he said.

Cross Sound Cable Co. is a joint venture between TransEnergie U.S. Ltd., a subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec, and United Capital Investments Inc., a subsidiary of United Illuminating.  Last month, a preliminary vote by the council had indicated it expected to approve the proposal.  But Thursday's decision also represents a reversal of the council's position from last March, when it rejected a similar proposal by a vote of 7-1.

[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Hartford COURANT website]

Thursday, Dec. 13 at 8pm, Town Hall:  Board of Finance to consider supplemental appropriations for engineering and technology expertise...Selectmen gave OK, Finance also...(Charter requirement).

DOCKET #217 NEWS - Northeast Utilities Service Company application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction of a 345-kV electric transmission line and reconstruction of an existing 115-kV electric transmission line between Connecticut Light and Power Company's Plumtree Substation in Bethel, through the Towns of Redding, Weston, and Wilton, and to Norwalk Substation in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Full scale reporting by ACORN PRESS - get a copy of this week's (October 18) FORUM or the Redding PILOT (whose editor covered this story) or the Wilton BULLETIN...for complete picture!  For Norwalk HOUR report of Thursday, Oct. 25 meeting by opponents, click HERE.

Saturday August 25th story (2nd lead) in Norwalk HOURreports of Northeast Utilities changing power line proposal--addition of new alternative--to take a wider swath of land (to make towers shorter) is on the table...

Thursday, August 2nd, 9am, Town Hall Meeting Room
Weston Planning and Zoning Commission, Conservation Commission and Board of Selectmen arrange public meeting for CL&P to explain...which they did, and so begins a process that may change the face of Weston...(more to come)

LWV Observer report on August 2 Joint Meeting regarding power lines:
This was a special Joint Meeting of three (3) Boards held by the Board of Selectmen--only the Chair. of Conservation and Planning and Zoning sat at the front table, however, and a quorum only of the Board of Selectmen was present.  Few citizens were in the audience, as this was not billed as a "Public Hearing" but rather a public meeting (open to all);  by the end of this almost three hour session it was clear that a larger room would be needed for the truly public input event--date uncertain at this time.  Although the present application to the CT Siting Council does not include information beyond the most superficial, the second part of the upgrade by CL&P in the South Western part of the state will cut straight across the lower part of Weston--from Weston Road to Tall Pines by way of Slumber Corners--just follow the line of CL&P towers that exist now, picture 130' average metal structures with three levels of high tension wires that hum in wet or humid  weather and then assume that the right-of-way will have to be widened from 80' to 125' or possibly more (this means condemning properties), and you have the long and short of the situation.

The public present, as well as the elected Town officials sharply questioned the CL&P staff and consultants on the need for this upgrade, the power situation in CT generally, why the need to cross Long Island Sound--is it that CL&P is now competing with out of area power suppliers and wants the competitive advantage of even more power than Connecticut may need...lots of questions, and this is just the beginning of a community dialogue.  One citizen pointed out that this very same proposal had been made 30 years ago...CL&P said it was now more than time to institute the upgrade.


Presentation by CL&P for proposed high voltage lines through Weston.  Please see below for locations in Town (one at the Northwest corner, the other, a further into the future concept, all across the lower end of Town)...after 60 days (from July 16), application will go CT Siting Council.

From the basic data supplied in the package given to the Town, it looks as if the high voltage lines will require 130 foot towers, wider right-of-ways (typical ROW in Weston part of the line 80' and typical additional land needed 45'), clearing of trees.  Please see below for a map reproduced from the Planning and Zoning Commission files.