Champlain-Hudson Express

A midst 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. The company behind the plans is Hydro-Quebec, a Canadian owned and operated company. Transmission Developers Inc, is the American company who would build the line. Similar plans are also in the works for a line to be set up in Vermont.

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, underground.

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 creation 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 environmentalist. 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 NYC are in favor of the power, which would be able to power of a million homes, and would make the power plants in NYC obsolete.  

The Hydro-Quebec would create power using and manipulating water. “It’s low-cost, very, very clean energy,” said Donald Jessome, CEO of Transmission Developers in the Daily News article, Plans to build $2 billion transmission line from Canada to Queens moves ahead. “It lowers pollution in the state.” 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 fulfil that need. Outsourcing has never benefited the majority of Americans, and it will not, in the long run, do so here.