Docket # PP-362

About the Project

Summary

The Department of Energy (DOE) prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed Federal action of granting a Presidential Permit to construct a new electric transmission line across the U.S.-Canada border in New York. DOE has determined that issuance of a Presidential Permit for the proposed project would constitute a major Federal action that may have a significant effect upon the environment within the meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Pursuant to NEPA, in considering an application for a Presidential Permit the DOE must take into account environmental impacts of the proposed facility as well as make a determination as to whether the proposed project is consistent with the public interest. For this reason, DOE prepared an EIS entitled Champlain Hudson Power Express Transmission Line Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0447) to address potential environmental impacts from the proposed action and reasonable alternatives. The EIS was prepared in compliance with NEPA and applicable regulations, including DOE NEPA implementing regulations at 10 CFR Part 1021.

Supplementary Information

Champlain Hudson applied on January 25, 2010, to DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) for a Presidential Permit to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a 1,000-megawatt (MW) high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Voltage Source Converter (VSC) controllable transmission system from the Canadian Province of Quebec to the New York City. This application was subsequently modified on August 5, 2010; July 7, 2011; and February 28, 2012. The applicant’s proposed VSC controllable transmission system consists of one 1,000-MW HVDC bipole. A bipole consists of two connected submarine or underground cables, one of which is positively charged, and the other negatively charged. In total, two cables would be laid between Quebec and a converter station in Queens which would change the electrical power from direct current to alternative current. Submarine or underground alternating current (AC) cables will transmit electricity from the converter station to a substation connected to the electrical grid.

From the U.S.-Canada border, the submarine transmission cables would be routed through Lake Champlain for approximately 101 miles (163 km) entirely within the jurisdictional waters of New York State. In the town of Dresden, New York, the cables would exit the water and would be buried within the right-of-way (ROW) of New York State Route 22. The cables would continue within the Route 22 ROW for approximately 11 miles (17 km) through the municipalities of Dresden and Whitehall, except for a crossing of South Bay. The cables would then be buried within an existing railroad ROW owned by Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) for approximately 64 miles (103 km) through the municipalities of Fort Ann, Hartford, Kingsbury, Fort Edward, Moreau, Northumberland, Wilton, Greenfield, Saratoga Springs, Milton, Ballston, Clifton Park, Glenville, Schenectady, and Rotterdam, New York. In the Town of Schenectady, the proposed cable route would exit the railroad ROW and transfer to Erie Boulevard just north of the railroad crossing at Nott Street, and continue along Erie Boulevard to a point south of State Street where it would again enter the railroad ROW. In the Town of Rotterdam, the buried route would transfer to the CSX Railroad (CSX) ROW and proceed southeast towards the Hudson River and then south parallel to the west bank of the Hudson River for a total of approximately 51 miles (81 km) through the municipalities of Guilderland, New Scotland, Bethlehem, Coeymans, New Baltimore, Coxsackie, Athens, and Catskill. In the town of Catskill, the proposed Project route would exit the railroad ROW and enter the Hudson River by following Alpha Road to a landing area on private land.

Upon entering the Hudson River, the two cables would be buried in the river bottom for approximately 67 miles (108 km) until they reach the Town of Stony Point, where the cable would leave the water and enter another CSX ROW. The cables would be buried for approximately 8 miles (13 km) in the CSX and New York State Route 9W ROWs through the municipalities of Stony Point, Haverstraw, and Clarkstown, as well as under Rockland Lake State Park and Hook Mountain State Park, before reentering the Hudson River.

The cables would be buried within the Hudson River for approximately 21 miles (34 km) before entering Spuyten Duyvill Creek and the Harlem River. The cables would be buried within these waterways for approximately 6 miles (10 km) before transitioning upland to enter a CSX ROW in the borough of the Bronx. The cables would be buried within the CSX ROW for approximately 1 mile (1.6 km), crossing beneath the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Hell Gate railroad bridge. The cables would then enter the East River for approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) before exiting the water. The cables would terminate at a proposed HVDC converter station on Consolidated Edison Power Park property on the site of the former Charles Poletti Power Plant in Astoria, Queens, New York. From the converter station, the double-circuit 345 kV AC cables would connect the converter station to an electric substation recently constructed by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) on the same property. From the substation, AC cables would be located within the streets of New York City for approximately 3 miles (5 km) to connect to the Rainey Substation in Queens.

The Project's precise final route is subject to a number of factors, including resource issues, permitting, land acquisition, and stakeholder agreement. The approximately 336 mile (541 km) portion of the Project within the United States will be owned and operated by the Applicant.

Agency Purpose and Need, Proposed Action, and Alternatives

DOE has the responsibility for implementing Executive Order (E.O.) 10485 (September 9, 1953), as amended by E.O. 12038 (February 7, 1978), which requires the issuance of a Presidential Permit for the construction, operation, maintenance, and connection of electric transmission facilities at the United States international border. DOE may issue the permit if it determines the project to be consistent with the public interest and after obtaining favorable recommendations from the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. In determining if a proposed project is consistent with the public interest, DOE considers:
  1. Potential environmental impacts in accordance with NEPA and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and DOE implementing regulations at 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 1500-1508 and 10 CFR Part 1021, respectively;
  2. The proposed project's impact on electric reliability, that is whether the proposed project would adversely affect the operation of the U.S. electric power supply system under normal and contingency conditions; and
  3. Any other factors that DOE may consider relevant to the public interest. DOE considered this EIS in determining whether to grant a Presidential permit to CHPEI. DOE's action responds to CHPEI's request for a Presidential permit.
In addition to the alternatives proposed by CHPEI and potentially developed through the public scoping process, DOE also considers the environmental impacts of a "No Action" alternative.

Identification of Environmental Issues

After due consideration of the nature and extent of the proposed project, including evaluation of the “Information Regarding Potential Environmental Impacts” section of the Presidential Permit application, DOE has determined that the appropriate level of NEPA review for this project is an EIS. On June 18, 2010, DOE published in the Federal Register its Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and to Conduct Public Scoping Meetings; Notice of Floodplains and Wetlands Involvement; Champlain Hudson Power Express, Inc. (75 FR 34720). The Notice of Intent (NOI) explained that DOE would be assessing potential environmental impacts and issues associated with the proposed project and reasonable alternatives. The NOI was sent to interested parties including Federal, state and local officials; agency representatives; stakeholder organizations; local libraries, newspapers, radio and TV stations; and private individuals in the vicinity of the proposed transmission line. Issuance of the NOI commenced a 45-day public scoping period that ended on August 2, 2010. On February 24, 2012, CHPEI released a Joint Proposal outlining revisions to the proposed Project route, which are reflected in the Supplemental Information section above.

EIS Preparation and Schedule

In preparing the EIS, DOE considered comments received during the public review periods. Any additional written comments received by DOE after conclusion of the review periods were considered to the extent practicable.

DOE considered all comments received on the Draft EIS, and responses to those comments, in the Final EIS. DOE has issued a Record of Decision, which is available in the Document Library.

Persons who submitted comments during the public review periods received a copy of the Final EIS. Other persons who would like to receive a copy of the document should notify Mr. Brian Mills or make a request via the Contact Us page on this website.

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