The PSC regulates the State's electric, gas, steam, telecommunications, and water utilities, and is charged by law with responsibility for setting rates and ensuring the provision of safe and reliable service by the utilities it regulates.
Article VII, "Siting of Major Utility Transmission Facilities,” is the section of the New York State Public Service Law that requires a full environmental, public health and safety impact review of the siting, design, construction, and operation of major transmission facilities in New York State.
Any proposed electric line of 115,000 volts (115kV) which is 10 miles long or greater, or 345kV which is one mile long or greater, must submit an application to the PSC for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need. The application for this project was submitted under an entirely new process, where the Article VII application is bifurcated and there are two filings: Part A and Part B.
The original proposal (Part A) was filed with the PSC on Oct. 1, 2013. The Part A filing included an overview of the proposed route and scoping documents for inclusion in the Part B filing.
National Grid submitted alternatives to the original proposal on January 7, 2015, and will submit a revised Part A application on January 20, 2015 and preliminary environmental impact data on March 2, 2015. The Part A filing includes an overview of the proposed route and scoping documents for inclusion in the Part B filing. The Part A filing is also a comparative phase where several developers will be competing to move on to the Part B phase. It is estimated that the Part A phase will end in August or September, 2015.
The Part B filing date is yet to be determined by the PSC.
The PSC makes the final decision regarding all Article VII applications after careful review and with public input. For a complete description of the regulatory process, please refer to:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
Since construction of the Project will disturb more than one acre of soil, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will likely require that construction activities obtain coverage under the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES), General Permit (GP) for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities (GP-0-10-001), and that a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) be developed to prevent discharges of construction-related pollutants to surface waters. NYES will provide NYSDEC with a Notice of Intent (NOI) and Notice of Termination (NOT) for the project and indicate that all GP-0-10-001 and SWPPP-related requirements will be addressed.
Additionally, NYSDEC will review all proposed project activities to identify potential project impacts to wetlands and rare, threatened and endangered species. NYSDEC will also evaluate noise expected from the project, the potential visibility impacts of the project, and the potential spread of invasive plant species from the project.
The Department is involved in reviewing various types of construction projects affecting farmland. Department staff works with projects from the early planning stages through construction and final restoration to ensure that impacts to agricultural resources are minimized and/or properly mitigated.
The Department is a statutory party to all Article VII electric transmission line proceedings governed by the PSC. Department staff provide pre-application information to project sponsors on specific agricultural resource concerns in the project area. They also review applications for potential agricultural resource impacts. This involves reviewing proposed routing to determine if agricultural land will be crossed by the project and reviewing proposed construction plans to determine potential impacts to agricultural resources. Staff conducts on-site reviews during construction and restoration to assess the contractor’s level of compliance with stipulations and certificate conditions for affected agricultural land.
The New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) functions as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and it evaluates possible project impacts to cultural resources. Information on inventoried archeological sites within a certain distance of each proposed facility will be reviewed by NYES. Information will also be reviewed on historic architectural resources (buildings, structures, and other elements of the built environment) within three miles of the proposed facilities that are listed on or have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and its state equivalent. Field investigations will be conducted if the review indicates the potential for significant project impacts to these types of resources. The SHPO is consulted during the historic evaluation.
Under Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) can issue permits to authorize activities that have minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effect on s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development. USACE evaluates permit applications for essentially all construction activities that occur in the Nation's waters, including wetlands. NYES will apply to USACE for a 404 permit for the project after evaluation and mapping of wetlands and other waters of the US are evaluated along the length of the line.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is a bureau within theDepartment of the Interior.There are federal protections for birds and other animal and plant species under the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. These laws make it illegal to kill or harass protected species, particularly (for birds) during nesting season in the spring. USFWS will be consulted with during the environmental impact analysis to determine potential project impacts to endangered species.