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Officials discuss underwater power cable

Rick Chase, Senior Public Affairs Consultant with Transmission Developers Inc., shows the proposed route of an underground 1,000 megawatt transmission line proposed to be buried in Lake Champlain.

Rick Chase, Senior Public Affairs Consultant with Transmission Developers Inc., shows the proposed route of an underground 1,000 megawatt transmission line proposed to be buried in Lake Champlain. Photo by Shawn Ryan.

— In areas where sub-marine burial is not possible, the cable will primarily follow railroad rights of way.

One issue which has not been resolved yet is how the cable will traverse the remnants of a Revolutionary War defensive wall of pickets near Fort Ticonderoga, which crosses the width of the lake on the lake floor. Similar fortifications exist in the Hudson River north of West Point.

The cable will be buried an average of four feet deep, to protect it from boat anchors and other possible damage. At depths of more than 150 feet, the cable will be laid on the lake bed without burying.

According to Chase, local union labor will be used for the construction of the barge used to lay the cable, and the actual laying of the cable. They anticipate the project to employ an average of 300 people at any given time, with up to 600 at peak construction.

As part of the licensing agreement, Transmission Developers has created a $117 million Environmental Trust Fund to, among other things, study and monitor water quality issues, possible fish habitat destruction, and invasive species. $2.5 million will be available at the financial close of the project, with the remainder slated to be paid out over the next 35 years.

There are no plans in place to tap into the line to provide power for this region.

There has been jurisdictional wrangling between some local municipalities and the state of New York over who owns the property on the lake bottom that the cable will traverse, and thus who will benefit from a change in tax assessment.

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