Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Thursday, August 21, 2003


ALBANY-Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh today praised U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) and New York Governor George Pataki for what Walsh described as "calls for common sense": their proposals to put the Cross Sound cable to use carrying needed electricity between Connecticut and Long Island.

In the days after the August 14 blackout, both elected officials have recommended that the cable, the permanent use of which has long been blocked by the state of Connecticut, be put to use on a longer-term basis. The cable was put into use after the blackout only after an emergency order was issued by Spencer Abraham, the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

"The case for improved transmission systems and increased generating capacity in New York was clearer and stronger than ever," Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh wrote in an August 21 letter to both Sen. Schumer and Governor Pataki.

"There have been too many obstructions of dubious merit in front of projects such as the Cross Sound cable that would improve our generating, transmission, and distribution capabilities," the letter said. "Your calls for common sense on the Cross Sound cable are a welcome step in the right direction. New York's business community congratulates you."

On August 19, Sen. Schumer, saying the blackout "underscores Long Island's need for permanent use of the Cross Sound cable," urged Abraham to give the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) permanent authority to receive electricity from New England via the cable.

The cable runs 24 miles from New Haven to Shoreham, Suffolk County. It was completed in July, but was never used until Abraham's order last week, when it carried 300 megawatts of electricity to Long Island.

Noting that "emergency conditions exist now and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future," Governor Pataki urged Abraham to extend the emergency order.

"Since there is no conclusion as to the reasons for the outage, the conditions that threaten the continuation of service cannot have been eliminated and are unlikely to be removed for the foreseeable future," the Governor said in an August 20 letter to Abraham. "In the event of another disturbance such as occurred last week, the Cross Sound Cable would be essential in stabilizing the grids in both New York and Connecticut."

The Governor's letter said: "I am advised that continued operation of the Cross Sound Cable will have no adverse environmental impact on Long Island Sound or any surrounding area."

In his letter, Walsh noted that the August 14 blackout hit New York when it was already suffering from "daunting competitive disadvantages related to energy. Our costs remain far above average.

"We lack sufficient capacity to sustain reliability, foster cost-reducing competition, and promote growth. We are not investing in updating our government-regulated transmission and distribution systems."