[UPDATE 3:10 p.m.] Rochester Gas and Electric spokesperson Dan Hucko just e-mailed over this statement:
"We agree with Senator Schumer that the Rochester Area Reliability Project is important and necessary to reinforce the capacity and reliability of the region’s grid. The Public Service Commission has appointed an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to re-evaluate the potential impacts of the Rochester Area Reliability Project on the Krenzer farm. RG&E is already engaged in that mediation process and met with all parties and the ALJ last week. RG&E is committed to work with all concerned parties to try to find an acceptable solution and keep this important project on track. Based on NYS Public Service Commission regulations, discussions among the parties involved in mediation are confidential. As a result, RG&E is unable to disclose details at this point."
Marie Krenzer says that her family doesn't want Rochester Gas and Electric to abandon a project that would require some of its farmland. The family just wants RG&E to minimize the impact on their farm, which covers 670 acres in Chili.
This morning, US Senator Chuck Schumer called on RG&E and its Spain-based parent company, Iberdrola, to do just that.
At issue is RG&E's Rochester Area Reliability project. The utility company plans to upgrade some of the region's substations and power lines to meet the region's growing electricity needs. But the plan also includes a new substation, transmission lines, and access road on the Krenzer family's farm. As part of its plan, RG&E would use eminent domain to take 80 acres.
It's not so much the idea of giving up land for the project that worries the Krenzers. But the way that the plan is currently designed jeopardizes the viability of the fourth-generation family farm. During a press conference this morning at the Scottsville Road farm, Schumer said that the plan could render up to 260 acres of the farm unusable.
The Krenzers learned about RG&E's plan in February, after it had already been approved by the state Public Service Commission But they successfully petitioned the commission to reopen the case so they could present an alternative proposal. They hired an engineer and developed a plan that moves the substation and transmission lines to one side of their property. A press release from Schumer's office says the solution would require 20 acres of land and could indirectly impact another 100 acres. Schumer said that he supports the alternate plan and that he wants RG&E and Iberdrola officials to accept it.
"They did the right thing and now to not go forward with what they've proposed would be a slap in their face," he said.