Charging New York: Canadian company to profit from tax funded power line

Alycia Bacon, Staff Writer

Amidst more prominent news stories, it may have been easy to miss New York’s plans to build a power line that would supposedly run cleaner energy from Canada to New York City. Similar plans are also in the works for a line to be set up in Vermont.

The company behind the plans is Canadian company Hydro-Quebec. Transmission Developers Inc, is the American company who would build the line. However, the hydroponic power plant would be in Canada. A 330-mile-long cable would run underground from Lake Champlain and down the Hudson River.

The question is not whether or not their is a need for cleaner, more renewable energy, but whether this is the answer. While there would be a creation of jobs in the initial four years it would take to build the power line, following its completion, most of the jobs would be in Canada.

However, New York would receive a one time payment after the lines completion. Recently, the Canadian government has sought funding for the project. This would come in the way of New York taxpayers. Currently there is a surcharge on utility bills that goes to support renewable energy efforts, if the line received funding then it would likely be taken from that surcharge.

The bill has already received state support and will need federal approval. The biggest opposition comes from labor unions and environmentalists. Labor unions argue that the powerline will deflect jobs from United States. Right now many unions rely on the production and maintenance of fossil fuels. The Hydro-Quebec line would feed 1000 megawatts of power to New York City. Some residents of New York City are in favor of the power, which would be able to power of a million homes, and would make the power plants in New York City obsolete.

Hydro-Quebec would create power by using and manipulating water.

“It’s low-cost, very, very clean energy,” said Donald Jessome, CEO of Transmission Developers in the Daily News article.

“It lowers pollution in the state,” said Jessome.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Works Union’s Chairman, Donald Daley wrote a letter to Congress opposing the construction of the power line:

“This project restricts power line access by the power plants located within New York State, blocking us from supplying New York City and the surrounding regions with in-state produced electricity. This project provides no economic opportunity for New York power generators.  Upstate New York communities would embrace the opportunity to supply electricity to other parts of the state and our membership is more than qualified to get the job done right….This project does little to invest in New York’s economic health. New Yorkers are forced on the short end of a one-way energy highway, benefitting Canadian investors and Wall Street backers.”


While there is certainly a need for clean renewable energy, there is also a need to find sources within the country to fulfill that need. Outsourcing has never benefited the majority of Americans, and it will not, in the long run, do so here.

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