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Fri., Sep. 4
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Developer: We don't need eminent domain


State senators who want to block a the construction of a power pipeline from Quebec to New York City might have just hit a bottleneck of their own.
The legislation that they've introduced would prevent the company from acquiring property by eminent domain (which allows companies to force you to sell them your property; it's much more descriptive in the British description: compulsory purchase). But there's just one problem: The company isn't planning to use eminent domain, said its president, Don Jessome.
"We don't expect to have to use eminent domain," said Mr. Jessome, the president of Albany-based Transmission Developers Inc.
Mr. Jessome said that the company would engage in "proprietary negotiation" to use railroad rights of ways and state land. That could mean big bucks for state coffers.
"We're just going to continue to develop this project," Mr. Jessome said.
Mr. Jessome discounted concerns that the project would flood the market with cheap Canadian power and cost upstate New Yorkers jobs. He also said the project has the potential to boost wind farm development upstate.
State Sens. Patty Ritchie and Joe Grffio are two sponsors of a bill that would take away the company's eminent domain rights, because they don't support the plan. They'll attend a news conference at 1 p.m. on Tuesday to tout their proposal, and will be joined by unions, which also really don't like the idea.
Matt Nelligan, a spokesman for state Sen. George Maziarz, said that the developers are "kidding themselves" by saying that they don't need eminent domain.
“If they’re going to use some process other than eminent domain, we think it ties this thing up in negotiations and court challenges for years to come,” he said. “From my perspective, that essentially kills the project.”

More on this story when I get around to it.

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