05.19.16

SCHUMER MEETS WITH CEO OF ROCHESTER GAS AND ELECTRIC (RG&E) TO URGE UTILITY COMPANIES TO DO RIGHT BY KRENZER FAMILY FARM IN CHILI – SENATOR SAYS COMPANY SHOULD FINALIZE MUTUALLY AGREEABLE PLAN FOR NEW ELECTRIC INFRASTRUCTURE THAT DOESN'T COST THE KRENZERS THEIR FARM

In 2013 After RG&E Announced Its Plan To Construct A New Substation and New Power Lines Across Krenzer Family Farm In Chili, Schumer Pushed RG&E To Look For Other Options That Did Not Force Fourth-Generation Family Farm to Give Up Business – Schumer Announced USDA Approved Plan in 2014 To Keep Lines Away From Family Farm, But Substation Location Remains Unresolved

In February 2016, Private Talks Began Between Krenzers, Utility Companies & Public Service Commission (PSC) To Determine Location Of Utility Substation – Schumer Reiterates Support For Family Proposal To Locate Station On Alternative Site, Rather Than On the Krenzer Family Farm 

Schumer: We Need To Make Sure This 4th Generation Family Farm Can Till The Soil For Generations To Come

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer met with Mark Lynch, CEO of New York State Gas and Electric (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) and urged him to do right by the Krenzer family farm in Chili. Schumer explained that the Krenzers and RG&E have been in confidential settlement talks with the Public Service Commission (PSC) since February 2016. These meetings are aimed at settling on the location of the electric substation that will support RG&E’s new power lines in the area. In 2013, Schumer joined with members of the Krenzer family at their farm to support their push to revise RG&E’s plan to build both a new 11-acre  electrical substation and new power lines on the family’s land that they feared would be so obstructive it would jeopardize their ability to continue to operate this farmland. 

In 2014, Schumer announced an agreement that would relocate the power lines largely away from the farm, which resolved the first issue needed to safeguard the Krenzer farm. To underscore his continuing push to resolve the second issue, Schumer met yesterday with RG&E CEO to reiterate his desire for RG&E to work earnestly within these settlement talks to make sure the Krenzer farm will not be permanently jeopardized by RG&E's plans to construct the new electrical substation.

“I have made it clear to NYSEG and RG&E for years that any power lines or substations that obstruct the Krenzer family’s ability to farm its land is a non-starter. I was proud to fight for the relocation of the power lines two years ago, and in this meeting I reiterated my support directly to RG&E’s CEO for a plan that would keep the utility substation off of the Krenzer’s property. We need to make sure the 4thgeneration Krenzer family farm can continue to till the soil for the 5th, 6th, and every generation to come,” said Schumer.

Schumer has long advocated for the Krenzer family farm. In 2014, Schumer announced that, following his push, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a popularly supported alternative plan, submitted by RG&E, to erect the new RG&E transmission lines next to existing New York Power Authority (NYPA) power lines, rather than the original plan, which would have erected the lines cross a wide swath of the Krenzer Farm or through other Town of Chili and Town of Henrietta properties. These lands are controlled by the USDA under an existing easement. Because the NYPA power lines currently run through this area, Schumer argued it would be appropriate to use this USDA-controlled land for the new RG&E power lines as well, rather than build them through the Krenzer farm in such a disruptive way.  At the time, Schumer commended RG&E for pursuing this revised plan to relocate the power lines away from the farm and in the USDA-controlled land, and for gifting replacement land to USDA to make up for any current USDA lands impacted by the new power lines.  In the same spirit of compromise that helped resolve the power line issue, Schumer urged RG&E’s CEO in his meeting to now resolve the remaining substation location issue.

Schumer has continued to push RG&E to resolve this last remaining issue – the location of the RG&E substation. Schumer said he continues to support the Krenzer family in calling on RG&E to construct their substation on the alternative site in the Town of Henrietta. Since February 2016, the Krenzers and RG&E have been in settlement negotiations to try and resolve the substation location site issue in a mutually beneficial way. In today’s meeting, Schumer reiterated his desire for RG&E to see this through so that the 4th generation Krenzer family farm can continue to be farmed for years to come.

Schumer originally launched his push in 2013 by calling on RG&E and its parent company, Iberdrola, to consider an alternative siting and alignment of a new 11-acre electrical substation and transmission lines after it released a plan to build the substation on the Krenzer Farm and then build new power lines in a zig-zag alignment that would cut across the Krenzer Family farm and potentially force them out of business. Following Schumer’s call, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) ordered RG&E to consider alternative locations.

The PSC review process yielded one alternative substation location on an undeveloped non-farm parcel in the Town of Henrietta. However, even this site would have required RG&E transmission lines to cross either the Krenzer farm, neighboring homeowner properties, farm land, near a senior living community, and untouched wetlands. Thus, under both scenarios, without this easement, the originally proposed transmission line route would not be practical and would have caused severe disruption and economic loss to impacted homeowners and local farms. Schumer explained that, for this reason, the routing the transmission lines across the USDA conservation area, which keeps the lines away from the Krenzer farm was the only reasonable alternative all along. 

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