NYRI update – Critique of anti-NYRI movement

First up: More blatant bullshit, as the DOE announces an upstate hearing for the “economic sacrifice zone” designation… in Rochester. No, not in Utica, not even in Syracuse – in Rochester. That’s 136 miles from the north end of the proposed line, and 277 miles from the south end. They will do anything to keep people affected by this project from attending. (One meeting in New York, another for Rochester. Can’t imagine that people in Orange County would go to the one in Rochester. Divide and conquer!)

A member of the Chenango Greens has posted (and circulated) “A Critique of the Anti-NYRI Movement.” Mike has always been critical of the anti-NYRI groups’ tactics but here he lets loose with an extended analysis. Some excerpts:

The PSC has NEVER denied a permit to a large project. That fact alone led me to characterize the budding movement’s exclusive adherence to prescribed procedure as Going Down The Chute. All the outreach done by activists in their community was aimed at getting folks to “get behind” the logical case against the lines. Hardly any was done to challenge and change the undemocratic nature of the decision-making process itself.

What is The Chute? The Chute is, first, the permitting (or regulatory) processes that were designed by corporations in order to insulate them from: a) the democratic political constraints to which economic activity of this scale should be subject and, b) the economic constraint of having to negotiate -as equals- with landowners for permission to use the latter’s property…

Second, The Chute is the filling of those permitting (or regulatory) agencies with appointees whose main qualifications are that they support the developmentalist goals of the elected officials who have ceded governing authority to those agents…

Third, The Chute is those elected officials who make all the appropriate noises about using their offices to influence the outcome of the permitting process, without asserting the sovereignty of the people (through their elected officials) over economic activity of this scale and import…

Fourth, The Chute is the cultural assumption that expanding economic activity, regardless of its effect on people, society, and nature, is the primary role of government… Sorry, folks, but as long as we don’t stand for a growth moratorium and a strategy to wind-down, we are pissing into the wind: the “experts” (the generators, transmitters, and their reps in government) will ALWAYS have the resources to convince the majority of whatever plan their profit-needs concoct, to deal with the “challenges” of further growth…

Fifth, The Chute is the creation of scapegoats that distract from the identifying the true enemy. Thus we are repeatedly treated to Walter Rich’s pimps Seward and Libous identifying the diffuse and diverse community of “downstate” as the real source of power behind NYRI’s romp to permitting…

Sixth, The Chute are those cattle amongst us that feel it is their job to keep the rest of us, nose-to-tail, headed in the “right” direction…

What alternative is there to “going down the chute”?

Alternatives are offered, concluding with:

In different ways, we have to push our local governments to challenge the state’s authority over our communities, hard enough so that the state challenges the feds power. Us directly approaching the federal authority through individual letters to the Secretary of Energy is not at all the same thing.

Not quite a manifesto, but there you have it. The Chenango Greens have also set up a listserv about NYRI and eminent domain issues and invite discussion at NYRIeminentdomain-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

There will also be a rally marking the one year anniversary of the proposed NYRI project on Saturday, May 19 in Sherburne. Groups will also be bused to the DOE hearing in New York on May 23.

Lastly, here is some Pennsylvania coverage of their local reactions to NIETC designation around Gettysburg. (This is the first time I have seen out-of-New-York coverage mentioning the NYRI project and linking it to local concerns about other power projects.)

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