Scenic Hudson

Mark Prezorski waxes enthusiastic when it comes to the Olana landscape. He not only lives in the shadow of Olana, but he is its landscape curator, a job as vital to the preservation of Frederic Church's legacy as the preservation of Church's house. As Mark points out, Church considered the Olana landscape the work of art of which he was most proud. Mark calls Church America's first landscape preservationist. Prezorski was giving us a private tour of the carriage roads in his new GEM, an electric golf cart that seats six. 
 Prezorski recalls how Church identified the hill across the river from Catskill where he studied landscape painting with Thomas Cole in the years 1844-46. The impression of that landscape stayed with him so when he looked for a place to build his house in 1860 he returned to that place on the Hudson, then called Sienghenburgh. He built Cozy Cottage on the first farm he acquired.

The following is based on a Scenic Hudson press release of 9/25/15 

Sept 25, 2015 - Scenic Hudson reports that it submitted a research report on behalf of the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition (HVSEC) that predicts a decline in electric transmission congestion and consumer electricity prices for the Mid and Lower Hudson Valley regions.  The report, prepared by London Economics International, a firm with expertise in utility markets, was submitted to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) which is reviewing the proposed high-voltage power lines that would run through a major swath of the Hudson Valley. The report provides an independent viewpoint from an authoritative source—a firm typically engaged by utilities and government. 

London Economics International (LEI) is a global advisory firm specializing in energy and infrastructure. Its clients include American Electric Power, Con Edison, Exelon, Green Mountain Energy and PSEG Energy Resources. LEI’s proprietary simulation model used for electricity market forecasting has been used in New York and other jurisdictions for regulatory proceedings.

Sept 15: On Saturday, September 26, The Dutchess County Ducks Unlimited Chapter will hold its Great Swamp Shoot and Conservation Program at Tamarack Preserve in Millbrook. Proceeds from this fundraising event will support the work of Ducks Unlimited Inc., the national organization dedicated to wetlands conservation.

“We are pleased to host this year’s Great Swamp shoot,” said Tim Bontecou, President of Tamarack. “The Club’s objective is to allow the lands to remain undeveloped, furthering the use of agrarian and sporting use of the property.” Tamarack lands have been farmed, hunted and fished for nearly 80 years, and conservation easements are held by the Dutchess Land Conservancy.

Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson, will present the annual Conservation Award to Chris Wood, Chair of the Oblong Land Conservancy.  "Saving the Great Swamp requires vision, leadership, and a collaborative spirit,” Sullivan said.  “Chris Wood has shown all these qualities, and great progress in this vital cause is the result.  I'm honored to be joining others in celebrating his groundbreaking work."

August 17 - Ned Sullivan of Scenic Hudson, Cliff Weathers of RiverKeeper and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett struggled with the probing questions raised by three short films that aired Sunday morning at the Moviehouse in Millerton.  

The films talked about the “bomb trains” carrying three billion gallons of volatile fuel on rickety rails next to the river [see series by Tom Parrett: ], the ongoing safetly risks of Indian Point and why it must be closed and the environmental threats of installing two new bridges to replace the Tappan Zee.

In early 2014 the NYS Public Service Commission invited developers to submit proposal that would solve congestion in the grid serving the area in and north of New York City and bring more power from points north into our area that was thought to be in a power deficit zone.  Public meetings in Milan, Clinton and Livingston attracted crowds of concerned citizens and anxious politicians who were appalled that high voltage power lines, new pylons and wider right of ways might threaten the Hudson Valley. 

Citizens who were happily retired or in home occupations all of a sudden became experts in the arcane world of power distribution and the procedures of the PSC.

The town of Clinton held regular meetings attended by experts, public relations personnel from the power companies, engineers and lawyers from the developers and frightened citizens.  

For almost a year the controversy disappeared from the media as the PSC reconsidered and asked for new proposals.  Time for comment on those proposals ended April 22. 

Expanding the grid is generating an organized, motivated and committed constituency, as evidenced by a gathering at the Livingston Highway Department’s garage last Friday that drew politicians, a representative from the state Public Service Commission (PSC) and several hundred concerned citizens. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett was on hand to hear what the leaders of Farmers and Families for Livingston and it allies had to say.

Will Yandik, president of the host organization, said he was a fourth-generation farmer in Livingston whose land already had a power line running through it. Taking another strip 125 feet wide (about 15 acres) and erecting a 345K power line would be a disruption to his farming, a threat to life from the electro-magnetic field, and plain idiotic when there were better alternatives. His message was “Put it underground.” That message was soundly endorsed by a strong round of applause.  

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