Connecticut Official Worsens Blackout Worries
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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273
Washington, D.C., August 19, 2003—Despite the trauma of the electrical blackout that swept across the Northeast last week, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is continuing legal opposition to the operation of a new underwater transmission cable carrying power to New York. The Cross-Sound cable, which carries enough electricity to power 300,000 homes, began temporary operation last week according to an emergency federal order, despite Blumenthal’s opposition.
“Opposition to new transmission capacity in the Northeast was questionable enough before, but trying to shut down an already completed project like the Cross-Sound cable in the wake of the nation’s worst blackout is outrageous,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute President Fred L. Smith, Jr. “The opposition of Blumenthal and other <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Connecticut officials demonstrates the extent to which development of vital new electric transmission capacity has been slowed to a trickle by burdensome regulations and endless legal challenges.”
The Cross-Sound cable, constructed at a cost of $150 million, runs underwater through Long Island Sound between Connecticut and New York. While New York state officials have supported the project, Blumenthal and Connecticut Governor John Rowland have fought it, despite reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it would not obstruct shipping and from Connecticut’s own environmental officials that it would not harm marine life.
“The opposition the project has endured from Connecticut officials is unfortunately not an unusual reaction to new electricity development projects,” said Smith. “Across the country, the zoning and permit process for new construction has stretched into an expensive, years-long ordeal. Unless there is a significant effort to lighten the regulatory burden, we can expect more of what we saw last week. A nation that permits officials like Mr. Blumenthal to continually delay vital new energy projects is not a nation that is going to respond well to future electrical crises.”
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