The Worst Trip of My Life

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I went on a little tour of the local area, near where I live, in Oneida County, to take photographs. My inspiration of taking this little tour is that this area has been deemed, for all intents and purposes, desolate by the Department of Energy. The trip is crushing, because all these little towns will soon be no more.

In case you haven't heard, the Great White Father and his administration in Washington, plus the welchers of New York State, are deciding that the people of Upstate are excess weeds, and must be rooted out and banished, due to a proclaimed emergency "energy crisis." An energy supplier, a privately owned company, plans to run 200 miles of 13-story high-voltage power lines through our countryside, our towns, and over our homes (the homes that are left after the bulldozing). This company, "New York Regional Connect," or NYRI, is banking that the federal government will bully us out of our lands to make way for their powerlines. They have a fight on their hands.

(Anyone can make a comment to the Department of Energy about this by filling out THIS electronic comment form. Please consider writing a comment to the DOE.)

CNY Snakepit posted a story that had me boiling all day yesterday. In it he reported,

Last week a measure to de-fund the Department of Energy's program to establish national electric corridors was shot down in the House Appropriations committee.

...Rep. José Serrano, a South Bronx Democrat... said the approval process was fair and that cities like New York needed the power.

“This may be one of those classic occasions where you tighten your belt and you say, ‘For the larger good, my trees may have a line going over it,’” he said. “‘For the larger good I may have to give up a little so that other folks may get a lot.’

That is the most bigoted statement I have ever heard in my life. Let me spell this out: we are not losing trees. WE ARE LOSING EVERYTHING. We are losing our property, our lands, our houses, our jobs, EVERYTHING, so that powerlines can feed lower New York and beyond.

Let me make something clear: I am not against powerlines. I am not against cutting trees for powerlines. I am not against powerlines suppling power to New York City. I AM AGAINST BEING FORCED FROM MY HOME, MY NEIGHBORS BEING FORCED FROM THEIR HOMES, AND OUR CHILDREN SUBJECTED TO THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF HIGH VOLTAGE POWERLINES. This is more than losing a few trees. This is unjust confiscation of everything we own. We are being thrown out of our houses.

Back to my little tour. I went around the southern area of Oneida County, snapping photographs of the most vulnerable areas. See, these powerlines aren't going up in remote places. These powerlines are going up along a 200-mile stretch of old railroad tracks. And these railroad tracks are in the middle of our towns. We will be losing OUR TOWNS if these powerlines go in, because powerlines require hundreds of feet clearance on each side of the tracks. NYRI and the DOE are so far uninterested in what our towns look like. The DOE won't even bother to see our area, and are having their meetings on the other side of the state.

What does this have to do with travel? Everything. How can I be a New York Traveler if there is no more New York as we know it? Please help us. Look at the photos I took and see for yourself. Look at Google Earth and search for Oneida County, NY. Look for the towns of Cassville, Clayville, Sauquoit, Chadwicks, New Hartford, Utica. Follow the railroad tracks and see what I mean. We will lose our towns.

WSYR9 of Syracuse, NY, has a brief report of this situation. (Anyone can make a comment to the Department of Energy about this by filling out THIS electronic comment form. Please consider writing a comment to the DOE.)

We in Upstate are fighting for everything-- everything we own, everything we are. Thanks for any help you can give us. I'll let my photos speak for themselves now. Clickthem for a larger view.

Town of Clayville, Oneida County, NY:

Railroad St Soon To Be Renamed Powerlne St

Its Pretty But Not As Pretty As Powerlines

Ice Factory Rd. Clayville

Down Ice Factory Rd

This Property is History

This House Needs to Go

This House is Ugly Anyway, Right

This House is History

These People Must Be Displaced for the Larger Good

We Sooo Love You, NYC Muuuaaah

Sauquoit, NY:

(I didn't get as many photos of Sauquoit and Chadwicks because the railroad tracks run behind private properties with backyards and houses close by. I stuck to the main roads. So needless to say, the powerlines will displace most of the townspeople because the lines will be strung right over the hundreds of houses in these towns.)

Id Say We Have Enough Powerlines Here Already

Energy Prices Are Already Highest in the US Sauquoit

We Deserve This Anyway

This Entire Street Will Have to Go

See the Tracks

Oh Yeah Just a Few Trees

Chadwicks, NY:

It Was a Nice Little House

Jose Serrano Hates Trailer Parks

Mohawk Valley Ltd Chadwicks

Railroad is Bad Enough Here

These Folks Just Remodeled Too Oh Well Too Bad

These photos are only a tiny portion of the 200-mile line of destruction that we will witness, unless something is done fast. Check out Google Earth for more. (Anyone can make a comment to the Department of Energy about this by filling out THIS electronic comment form. Please consider writing a comment to the DOE.)

12 remarks
Anonymous said...

My in-laws, who are in their 80's and have many health problems, live right next to the tracks. This whole thing is horrible. If NYRI gets their way, sadly, I do think it will be the final nail in the coffin for my beautiful Mohawk Valley.

9:50 PM  
Mrs Mecomber said...

Kim, I think you are absolutely right. And I think that certain politicians and businesses are looking forward to that day.

9:56 PM  
The Tour Marm said...

I am so sorry to hear yet another story.

Unfortunately, it is happening all over.

And the new power lines are only going to encourage more use and abuse of electricity.

What they should be doing is developing more alternate energy sources, forcing new buildings (especially in cities) and homes to have their own generators and alternate energy sources.

The countryside is simply disappearing.

Are your two Honorable Senators doing anything about this?

9:01 PM  
Mrs Mecomber said...

Our Honorable Senators have a lot of bluster but no wind. I have been watching the events unfold, with our political leaders saying they are shocked, shocked (say that with Claude Rains accent) with what is going on. I have the sneaking suspicion that they are selling us out.

Yes, I see that this is happening all over. I love electricity as much as any girl, but at what cost? The cost is too great. Hopefully, more and more will speak up and take action against such boldfaced tyranny.

10:31 PM  
The Tour Marm said...

As I had already posted, we are having are own troubles in Virginia.

The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) has listed several areas that are being indangered by 'progress', indiscriminate developers, and clueless local government officials.

Here is an excerpt from the APVA:

Rural historic resources also proved to be imminently at risk. Alarming is the threat to Virginia’s Northern Piedmont. Dominion Power has announced plans for a 500,000-volt transmission line through Frederick, Warren, Rappahannock, Fauquier, Culpeper, Prince William, and Loudoun Counties. The transmission line would cut a 200-foot scar for 40 to 68 miles across the landscape with its cleared right-of-way. The proposed transmission towers, spaced 1,000 feet apart, would stand 12-17 stories tall and be visible for miles. The line would slash through historic districts; magnificent viewsheds; publicly held open space; a high concentration of conservation easements; and historic sites.

You need to understand that it isn't just the communities affected, but the pristine landscape that hosted some of the major battles of the Civil War.

I don't just feel your pain, I know it.

For more information on Virginia's endangered historic sights:

11:22 AM  
Mrs Mecomber said...

What happened to "Sic Semper Tyrannis" and other state mottos like "Live Free or Die"?

1:56 PM  
The Tour Marm said...

We lost the War, you know.

And all those Yankee carpetbaggers from New York City have recently populated Northern Virginia...

The best we could do was throw out Disney.

2:25 PM  
Mrs Mecomber said...

The War?! Hoh hoh! Remember, I'm a blue-blooded Yankee! ;)

I am actually ALL for state's rights, but not secession... the states (notably the original 13 colonies) have every right to deem certain federal interference as unconstitutional. However, the feds have done a smashing good job buying off the states, so that now the states have made themselves beggars and debtors to Congress.

Yes, I know many New Yorkers who have fled for southern states. All my relatives, save a sister and two uncles, have fled NY.

Aren't you from New York, too?

2:59 PM  
The Tour Marm said...

Yes, I'm from Queens, NY (The City).

My father's family is from historic Westmoreland County, Virginia (Birthplace of Washington, Lee, and Monroe.)

Because of my family (we are Lees and have connections to the Washington family etc.), and their part in history, as well as working summers on the farm, I have gained a true appreciation of rural and smalltown life and sensibilities.

Because of the influence of the internet on business, more people can have home offices and no longer have to commute. They can live further away from the main office.

Cities have become far too expensive to live in, and some want the American Dream of owning a house with very little yard work.

I wasn't joking about the Yankees coming down. They're the ones that move to the country because it is so beautiful and then start to trash it up with ticky-tacky developments, McDonalds, strip malls, and Walmarts (which put the local mom and pops out of business.)
Encroachment of pristine green spaces in Loudoun, Fauquier, Orange, Clark, and Stafford Counties is a real hot issue. Farms are being bought up to be replaced my expensive cheaply-built townhomes or McMansions which have become a blight on the landscape, in fact, what landscape?

They have had a negative impact on the environment and of course, more energy, services, and highways are needed to support these 'communities'.

Soon, all the land up to the Blue Ridge mountains will be littered with these Levittowns, populated by those without any appreciation for history or the environment, just where to put the new multiplex movie theatre (like the one on the very edge of Manassas Battlefield).

The power lines are just the beginning.

And please do remember that most of these people have moved down to be closer to Washington, DC or work directly for or with the federal government.

Virginia doesn't have a chance.

7:46 AM  
Mrs Mecomber said...

I really appreciate the comments you are giving on this post! Thanks!

I am New Yorker allll the way back to the Dutch and English (and even the New York Indian). I guess I feel the same way as you do about your state. I consider it as part of my heritage, long-owned and hard fought.

I know you are not joking about the Yanks coming with their Levittowns. I know so many people from up here who have moved to NC and VA, taking their ultra-liberal, city-slicker ideologies with them. I have often wondered how this great change in demographics would change the South.

I am a rural gal with rural tendencies, myself. I can't express what a stab in the back it is to see Upstate New York violated, trampled, and pimped. In the past, such abuses have afflicted NYC and the larger Upstate cities-- but now the ogres want US and OUR homes, too.

Who knows? Maybe we country folks will all rise as one again and show the Tories what we do to tyrants...

8:10 AM  

I've got plenty of feathers!

And who knows? When to gas prices go up too high and we all revert to horse & buggy again, we can melt our tires for tar and the car for ... something else!

10:01 PM  
Mrs Mecomber said...

TAR and FEATHERS!!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaa!

10:03 PM  

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