Article VII of the New York State Public Service Law, entitled "Siting of Major Utility Transmission Facilities,” requires a full environmental, need and safety review of the siting, design, construction, and operation of major utility transmission facilities in New York State. Any proposed electric transmission line with a design capacity of 100,000 volts (100 kV) or more extending for at least 10 miles, or of 125 kV or more extending a distance of at least one mile, must submit an application to the New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need.
Article VII prescribes the content of an application, including a description of the project’s need, proposed and alternative locations, expected economic effects and studies of environmental impacts.
The applicant, Commission Staff, and any other state agencies or parties with an interest participate in a detailed process of reviewing the application and other subsequent information and materials submitted by the applicant and possibly other parties. The Commission makes the final decision regarding all Article VII applications.
For a complete description of the process, please refer to the Commission’s Article VII Review Process Guide at: Article VII Guide Web 9-14-16 Final.pdf (dps.ny.gov website)
Yes, the public is not only allowed, but encouraged, to participate in the Article VII process. The Riverhead to Canal Second 138kV Underground Cable Project (RTC) Article VII application was filed on November 24, 2008 and approved by the Public Service Commission on December 21. 2009. Following the submittal of the RTC Environmental Management & Construction Plan, there will be a 30 day public comment period.
The Commission proceeding reviewing the Project is Case 08-T-1388. Interested persons who wish to participate as parties in this case may file for party status. This may be done through the Commission’s web site. From the home page of the Commission’s web site (http://www.dps.ny.gov), a prospective party should click on "Search.” On the Search page, the "Search by Case Number” box should be filled in with the number for this case (08-T-1388). This will bring the user to the main Document and Matter Management ("DMM”) page for this case. On that page, the prospective party should click the button at the upper right labeled "Request for Party Status” to see a web page with instructions for the procedures to follow to become a party.
There are also a number of ways to give comments to the Commission:
- Via the Internet or Mail: The public may submit comments to the Commission by email to the Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at email@example.com or by mail to Secretary Burgess at the New York State Public Service Commission, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350. Comments to the Commission may also be entered directly into the case file for this matter by clicking on the button at the upper right labeled "Post Comments” on the main DMM page for this case (see above).
- Via the Commission’s Toll-Free Opinion Line: Individuals may choose to submit comments to the Commission by calling the Commission’s Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This line is set up to receive in-state calls 24 hours a day. These calls are not transcribed but a summary is provided to the Administrative Law Judge who will report to the Commission.
All comments to the Commission should refer to "Case 08-T-1388.” All comments will become part of the record considered by the Commission. Comments will be accepted by the Commission throughout the pendency of this case. Also on the main DMM page for this case (see above), one can click on the "Public Comments” tab to read written comments to the Commission, and on the "Filed Documents” tab to see other documents such as the application and transcripts of public statement hearings.
PSEG Long Island also encourages our neighbors to contact us with their questions and concerns at any time. To maintain and promote an open and transparent permitting process, the RTC Public Outreach Team ensures that affected landowners and the public receive important project information, and the ability to ask questions and voice concerns. We can be contacted:
The RTC Project Team will inform the public about key project milestones by mail or newspaper publication. Nearby landowners will receive status information from the RTC Project Team during the permitting process. They will also receive written notification prior to the start of construction, and as the stages of construction unfold, landowners will receive periodic updates. The RTC Project website (www.riverhead2canal.com) will continually be updated with the current project status and information.
- The new 138kV electric transmission cable will help ensure the continued reliable service to the East End of Long Island. With the South Fork load continually growing at an average rate of 2.5 percent per year, there is a need for a second 138kV supply from the Riverhead Substation to the Canal Substation.
- The new 138kV cable will be located entirely underground except for certain above-ground electrical equipment within the existing substations and where the cable crosses the Shinnecock Canal.
- Unlike many new electric transmission lines that are built mostly over private property, most of this 16-mile-long project will be located under roads and other public rights-of-way.
- Construction of the project, including 39 new splice manholes, will occur alongside existing underground electric transmission facilities in existing transmission corridors, primarily along Speonk Riverhead Road and Sunrise Highway in the Town of Southampton, thus minimizing impacts to residents and travelers to the area.
During the route development process for the RTC, PSEG Long Island and its contractors have worked to minimize the overall amount of new property rights it will require by using public rights-of-way to the greatest extent possible.
The exact scope of property rights to be acquired for this project will not be finalized until later in the permitting process. Currently, our assessment is that this scope of property rights will be quite narrow.
If you have any questions or concerns about the property rights acquisition process, please contact us via our hotline or website email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
LIPA and PSEG Long Island strive to resolve all real estate acquisition concerns in an amicable and mutually agreeable fashion when at all practical.
As a public authority, the Long Island Power Authority has the power to exercise eminent domain for projects such as the RTC. For this project, that power cannot be exercised until the New York State Public Service Commission has issued a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need and approved the Environmental Management and Construction Plan.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) are generated from a wide variety of sources, including transmission lines. We recognize that there is scientific uncertainty as to whether EMF have an effect on human health or not, but the New York State Public Service Commission has established guidelines for transmission lines like RTC, and this project will comply with them.
Moreover, the World Health Organization (or WHO) provides details and studies regarding the relationship between humans and EMF. The WHO is an independent non-governmental organization which has collected data from hundreds of studies regarding EMF, and has compiled its data on its website: http://www.who.int/peh-emf/en.
The electric field from the RTC Project will be blocked by the cable shielding and will not be present aboveground. We conducted a model analysis of the anticipated aboveground magnetic field (MF) levels from the RTC Project during normal operation of the line. The results of the study demonstrate that the anticipated MF levels of the RTC Project would be well below the maximum levels allowed by New York State Public Service Commission guidelines.
Two of the primary environmental benefits of an underground transmission system are: (a) the ability to construct the system under public streets where we currently have property rights (overhead, even street-side, would force us to create a new cleared right-of-way at least partially on private properties); and (b) the reduced visibility of an underground system.
Exhibit 4 of the Article VII application details the consideration we give to the impacts and proposed mitigation for potential impacts on numerous important environmental resources, including: cultural resources; rare, threatened and endangered species; sensitive habitats including wetlands, contaminated or unique soils and water resources; and human health.
Please contact the RTC Project Team if you would like an electronic copy of Exhibit 4.
Detailed design will incorporate environmental impact mitigation, which will be contained within the project’s Environmental Management and Construction Plan (EM&CP).
Traffic studies will be conducted to determine the potential impacts to the vehicular flow within the Project area. Traffic impacts will be minimized as much as possible to not disturb commuter flow, or the needs of emergency services. The RTC Project will work with the various municipalities to identify potential detour routes where applicable. Any detours will be published on this website prior to active construction in that area.
Electric transmission lines do not
usually interfere with normal television or radio reception. In some cases,
interference is possible at a location very close to the right-of-way, if the broadcast signal is particularly weak or an abnormal condition on the line.
Alternative forms of energy production
and conservation are important parts of the electricity equation. But they
cannot be relied on exclusively to meet the need for energy.
Construction is stated for May 2020 to April 2021. The schedule is based upon PSC approvals, as well as necessary in-service dates.