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Group Assails Project's EMFs

Photonics.com
Jan 2009
UPSTATE NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2009 -- A coalition of seven counties and five citizens' groups has filed testimony with the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) saying that a proposed high-voltage transmission line will affect sensitive electronic devices such as electron microscopes and high-resolution imaging instruments at a nanotechnology center planned for the area and should not be built.

Communities Against Regional Interconnect (CARI) has long opposed the plan by New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) to construct a 190-mile, 1200-MW electrical transmission line to meet the ever-growing electricity demands in the southern part of the state. CARI said the preferred route for the project currently extends from Marcy in Oneida County, near Utica, to Orange County, passing through the Marcy NanoCenter site. The NYPSC has yet to determine the project's final route.

CARI has previously said the project would harm the cultural, historic and economic resources of central New York. In papers filed last week with the NYPSC, the coalition said electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by the massive power lines will disrupt sensitive electronics if the line is located near the Marcy NanoCenter, a 300-acre greenfield site on the State University of New York's Institute of Technology (SUNYIT) campus. The state has pledged to spend more than $20 million to develop the site to attract high-tech industry such as chip manufacturers. 

Davidson Scott of VitaTech Engineering LLC provided testimony to the NYPSC on behalf of CARI, stating, "The NYRI transmission line will create EMFs strong enough to disrupt the operation of sensitive instruments over a distance of almost 900 feet on either side of the transmission line. That is to say, the transmission line will create a corridor almost 1800 feet wide."

Lara York from Abbie Gregg Inc., a firm specializing in EMF issues, said the strength of the fields would have an adverse affect on EMF-sensitive tools. "Land uses such as university, research or commercial laboratories employing electron microscopy as well as nanotechnology uses would be precluded within 1000 feet of the overhead portions of the [high-voltage direct current] line for its entire 190-mile length," she stated.

"Marcy NanoCenter at SUNYIT is an important investment in our future regional economy, and the experts have made it clear that the proposed routes for the NYRI project would seriously compromise the viability of New York State's premiere shovel-ready nanotechnology site. With millions of dollars already invested in the development of this site, I urge the commission to act in the interests of taxpayers by rejecting any project route that affects the Marcy NanoCenter at SUNYIT," said SUNYIT President Wolf Yeigh.

"It is inconceivable that the Public Service Commission would consider any route option that would cut through or near the Marcy NanoCenter site, or emit EMF fields that in effect diminish the economic development potential that this initiative holds for the Mohawk Valley and central New York regions," said CARI chairman and Mohawk Valley Economic Development and Growth Enterprise President Steve DiMeo. "NYRI knew full well that this site is being planned as a development site for the semiconductor and nanoelectronics industry, and their analysis failed to take the EMF issues into consideration. That just shows their level of incompetence and the little regard they have for the people of the Mohawk Valley region."

NYRI, a consortium of investors, says the direct current (DC) transmission used over the lines has been documented as a "safe and efficient" technology.

Friday was the last day testimony on the project could be filed with the commission. Parties can file rebuttals until Feb. 23. Evidentiary hearings are scheduled to take place in March.

For more information, visit www.caricoalition.org or www.nyri.us


GLOSSARY
chip
1. A localized fracture at the end of a cleaved optical fiber or on a glass surface. 2. An integrated circuit.
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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