NYRI wants to build a 1,200-megawatt line from the Utica area south through seven upstate New York counties to bring power to the New York City area. The Department of Energy has designated the proposed power line route as one of two "national interest energy transmission corridors" where Washington officials can approve new transmission lines over the objections of local and state authorities in certain circumstances. Under the court ruling, FERC would not have jurisdiction if the state denies the project within one year of filing of the application with the state. But if the state denies it after one year has expired, FERC would have jurisdiction. NYRI claims the application was filed with the state one year ago, which means the court ruling will have no bearing on NYRI's ability to seek FERC intervention if the state denies the application. The state Public Service Commission, however, lists the filing date as Aug. 8, 2008, because that's when the application was accepted as complete by the agency. That means FERC would not be able to intervene unless the PSC has failed to issue a decision by Aug. 8, 2009.
An administrative law judge will hold hearings from March 16 to April 16 and later render a decision that the commission could accept or reject. The commission hasn't set a timetable for action. (Newsday.com)