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E-M:/ SC Statement on Joining w/ 5 Members of Congress to Oppose Transmission Corridors

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>

Contact: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384

             Sierra Club Joins Bipartisan Group of Congressmen
                  In Opposing Transmission Line Corridors
  Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Repeal Section 1221 of EPACT 2005

Today Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope appeared with Reps. Maurice
Hinchey (D-NY), Frank Wolf (R-VA), Mike Arcuri (D-NY), John Hall (D-NY),
and Chris Carney (D-PA), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and
numerous other environmental and historic preservation groups to speak out
against the transmission line corridors designated last week by the
Department of Energy (DOE) under the auspices of the Energy Policy Act of
2005.  Reps. Wolf and Hinchey have introduced bipartisan bills to repeal
section 1221 of the law, which grants DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) nearly limitless powers of eminent domain and exempts
them from key environmental laws in designating so-called "National
Interest Electric Transmission Corridors."

                          Statement of Carl Pope

"There were many, many reasons why the Sierra Club opposed the Energy
Policy Act of 2005, but the sweeping powers granted to the DOE and FERC to
designate "National Interest Electric Transmissions Corridors" were near
the top of the list.  Last week the DOE showed just how dangerous this
nearly limitless authority is when, under intense pressure from the energy
industry, it proposed the first two such corridors.  They make a mockery of
the word "corridor," as they include the entirety of the states of
Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey, along with substantial portions of
Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, and
southern California.  At this rate, the entire country could soon be deemed
an essential electric transmission corridor.

"This provision usurps the right of state and local governments to deny
access to certain lands and areas based on local interests and values.  In
addition, it runs roughshod over laws meant to protect environmentally and
historically sensitive areas such as Civil War battlefields from
development.  It also trumps the rights of property owners in the
corridors, allowing for their lands to be seized via eminent domain and
transferred to private corporations.  Above all, backers of this provision
believe that energy companies should be allowed to construct power lines
and pipelines anywhere they see fit in order to increase their own profits,
regardless of what's in the public interest.

"In the Northeast, new transmission lines would be used to ship power into
the region produced from dirty, outdated coal-fired power plants in
Appalachia and elsewhere.  This undermines the important efforts of the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is spurring new and innovative
developments in the Northeast to increase clean energy supplies and combat
global warming.  It would also subject communities outside the region to
the pollution, including toxic mercury, from power plants that would be
supplying power to cities hundreds of miles away.

"Instead of forcing new transmission lines on communities across the
country, we can eliminate the need for them by increasing the energy
efficiency of our schools, homes, factories, offices, and the appliances
and electronics we use each day.  And by modernizing our badly outdated
electrical grid, we can make that sure more of the energy we already
produce actually makes it to those homes, offices, and factories.

"I am pleased that a bipartisan group in the House has introduced
legislation to repeal this authority.  This provision--never debated on the
floor--tramples on our public lands, historically sensitive areas, private
property rights, and the constitutional authority of states.  We look
forward to working with the Congress to right this wrong as quickly as

                                   # # #

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