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Proposed power line gets state OK

Federal permits still needed for Lake Champlain project

— The state Public Service Commission has approved a high-capacity electricity transmission line that will be submerged beneath the waters of Lake Champlain.

The approval leaves only federal permits standing in the way of the $2 billion Champlain Hudson Power Express Inc. that will feed Canadian hydroelectric power to New York City.

The state endorsed the approval, in large part, because the company would bear the entire project cost, not electricity users, PSC Chairman Garry Brown said in a statement.

The 352-mile, 1,000 MW transmission line is expected to ease New York’s reliance on acid rain-causing coal-powered electrical plants while providing up to 10 percent of New York City’s energy demands, the commission reported.

The transmission line will run beneath rail lines and state highway rights of way, when not beneath Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.

The primary opposition to Champlain Hudson Power Express Inc.’s proposal to import Canadian power comes from western New York, where regional officials argue that the transmission line will cost New Yorkers jobs at Buffalo-area power plants.

Champlain Hudson Power Express agreed during the state review to create a $117 million trust fund for fisheries and habitat improvements in Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.

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