Today, June 12, is the so-called “upstate” federal public meeting over the NYRI issue, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the RIT Inn and Conference Center in Rochester. None of the news over the past week or so has been good for NYRI opponents. (See Stop the Power Lines for the latest updates on what’s been happening with Maurice Hinchey’s efforts in Washington.) The effort now is at the “silverware in the cannon” stage at the federal level already. But why is this meeting in Rochester, of all places — 130 miles away from the proposed line? Well…
Kevin Kolevar, director of the DOE Office of Electricity, Delivery and Energy Reliability, said Rochester was chosen for the meeting because it is within the newly designated Mid-Atlantic corridor and is an area of “congested” electrical transmission.
I, for one, welcome our new overlords. Don’t you?
Not much else to say except this is of course the whole reason why I started reporting on the NYRI situation last year. I had hoped that bloggers in Rochester and Buffalo would be interested as well, but there did not seem to be any interest. Maybe now there will be. [Update: As you can see by the above map, this is not just a Delaware Valley and Mohawk Valley problem any more… never was.]
And although it is a metaphor that has not caught on (are people too ignorant of real American history and too proud to see themselves part of it?) don’t ever wonder how or why Native Americans wound up dispossessed of their lands, particularly here in New York. Like upstate New York citizens, they were reasonable people who assumed that there were understandings and agreements and laws in place to protect their land rights and livelihoods, and they never dreamed that the powerful newcomers would want to despoil what was here. But they were also economically and physically weakened, shrinking in number, and easy pickings for the unscrupulous, and all too easy to remove. By the time they abandoned their assumptions, realized that no tribe was safe from what was happening and attempted to organize on a large scale across tribal boundaries, it was too little, too late (as far as their land rights were concerned). Just as the Indians were moved westward, by increasingly heavyhanded means, it is convenient that your children be persuaded to move south and west and leave this place clear for power lines and water removal operations, with a token population left behind to provide maintenance for second homes. This is the “proper” use of the land, and we must not stand in the way of progress.
As they say, history doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme. Have flogged this before, will keep flogging it. Yes, I admit this is rather extreme, but it happens to be true. Maybe my attitude about this needs to be examined. Perhaps I’m wrong in seeing this as undesirable. I mean, we’re all Americans, right — all the same people? And one place is the same as another, right? What does it matter if some of us have control over the land and some of us don’t?
In any case… “Write everything down.”
Updated: Mrs. Mecomber, the New York Traveler, has taken a trip to see some of the towns that would be affected. Also, comments from a homeowner downstate (in the Catskills?) And the town of Norwich drops some more silverware down the hole. Also: good coverage of the meeting from Binghamton’s WBGH.