New York News: March 10, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

Assemblyman Will Barclay had a simple suggestion when he attended a recent briefing of the Assembly Energy Committee: update aged transmission lines and put more energy on the grid.

Barclay today attended the briefing with members of the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). Barclay is a member of the committee and a proponent of renewable as well as nuclear energy.

Both nuclear and renewable energy have the ability to support and create more high-paying jobs in the Central New York region and put more energy on the grid, the assemblyman noted. Creating more power would lower the cost of energy for businesses in New York, he added.

“Upgrading our transmission lines is critical to both creating more jobs and lowering the cost of energy, to prevent energy congestion — something that is occurring and contributing to increased energy prices in New York,” he said.

A proposal is before the New York State Public Service Commission that would create a new underground line, which would import power from Canada to New York City. Barclay said he is against this new line and would rather see the state upgrade its existing transmission lines.

Allowing a new transmission line to be built would give jobs to Canada and put the state’s current transmission system at risk, which could increase energy costs for New York residents, he said.

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Senator Patty Ritchie recently outlined the Senate Agriculture Committee’s top priorities during a visit with Jefferson County agricultural leaders.

“We produce the best agricultural products in the world right here in New York State, but too much of what we buy is produced on the other side of the continent or the other side of the globe,” Ritchie said. “Last year, I found New York State was serving milk from Texas to its own employees.” In 2012, the committee’s priorities include:

• Reducing mandates and fees on New York’s family farmers by passing her bill “Let New York Farm,” which is also New York Farm Bureau’s top legislative priority;

• Expanding marketing opportunities for small farms by requiring New York State government agencies to buy more New York grown farm products under the “Buy from the Backyard” bill she cosponsored, and

• Restoring funds to agricultural marketing, research and educational programs facing cuts in the proposed state budget.

Senator Ritchie encouraged farmers to take part in her “Survey of Agriculture Professionals,” which seeks input on key issues facing the farm community.

The survey is available on her web site at

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Two bills sponsored by Ritchie that aim to help New Yorkers enjoy the outdoors were approved by the Senate last week.

The first was a bill that would allow owners of UTV’s, also known as “double-wides” and “side-by-sides,” to legally register them for use in the state

The bill would accommodate side-by-sides by increasing the maximum weight allowed for ATVs to 1500 pounds from the current 1000-pound limit. The bill is supported by major sportsmen’s groups.

The second bill would direct the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to offer for-sale hunting and fishing “gift cards.”

Both bills were sent to the Assembly.

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