Houseal said the Adirondack Council supported the amendment because the alternative was to run the lines on a six-mile detour around the Forest Preserve.
"We really didn't like the detour," said Houseal, noting how it would have cut through old-growth boreal forest that is known to contain rare plants and wildlife, such as spruce grouse.
"We told them, 'This may sound crazy, but we want you to build this on the Forest Preserve. It will save you money and it will prevent ecological damage by confining the power line to an already-developed area,'" Houseal said. "They looked at us strangely at first, but then agreed."
The majority of the lines run across private property or remain on the state Route 56 highway easement; all except a two-mile stretch between Stark Falls and Sevey Corners. They have been in use since May.
With the amendment approved, the state legislature must now pass yet another bill spelling out the specifics of the land swap and completing the transfers.
"Passage couldn't come at a better time as winter quickly approaches and demand for power will increase in Tupper Lake and the Tri-Lakes region," Little said. "This is a smart solution and the result of effective teamwork by the business community, environmental advocates and local and state officials."