Gunther Legislation to Block NYRI’s Use of Eminent Domain Passes Assembly

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) announced a bipartisan legislative agreement on legislation she sponsored to prohibit the use of eminent domain by New York Regional Interconnect (A.11977).

“Passage of this legislation is a major victory in our fight against NYRI and the power line,” Gunther said. “It is important to ensure that eminent domain is not used to help private developers force people out of their homes and off their land to make a profit, especially for a project that would damage the environment, harm the economy and pose potential health risks to residents.”

NYRI wants to build a high-voltage power line from Oneida County to Orange County cutting through backyards and scenic land disturbing endangered wildlife. Eminent domain is a legal tool used for taking private property for public good. Under state law, electric companies such as NYRI can use eminent domain to condemn private property and take it for their use. This legislation ensures that eminent domain is truly only used for the most public of purposes and not for the profit of private developers.

Gunther added her legislation to create the Upper Delaware River Greenway to help secure state funding and resources for the Upper Delaware River and its surrounding communities also passed the Assembly (A.8331-C). She said this legislation would provide resources for surrounding communities and may serve as another obstacle to the approval of NYRI’s application.

A Greenway is a community planning tool that, in this case, will help Port Jervis, Hancock, Deerpark, Lumberland, Highland, Tusten, Cochecton and Delaware improve the scenic, natural, cultural, historical and recreational assets of the Delaware River Valley and promote tourism and boost the local economy.

“The Delaware is one of the nation’s great rivers, originating in New York,” Gunther said. “Eliminating the use of eminent domain and creating the Upper Delaware River Greenway will make it that much more difficult for the power line to become a reality.”