A farm family scored an unlikely win Thursday when state regulators agreed to reconsider a plan to plow through part of the farm for a power line project.
“The Krenzer family could not be more pleased with today’s decision,” said Marie Krenzer, spokeswoman for the family that has tilled the farm for four generations. “There must be a way to avoid destruction of prime agricultural land and still address our region’s electrical needs.”
The Public Service Commission decided Thursday to examine alternatives to the plan by the Rochester Gas & Electric Co. for a power line and power substation that would be built down the middle of the farm in Chili, near Rochester.
“We appreciate the substantial public comments received from property owners, public officials and other throughout the process,” said Audrey Zibelman, chairwoman of the state Public Service Commission. The commissioners “feel it is appropriate to reopen the proceeding to examine possible alternatives.”
The PSC, however, also notes the importance of the pipeline project and the need to provide more reliability to western New York.
The family had appealed for a halt to the project in September, saying members of the family hadn’t fully understood the damage it would do to the farm. State and utility officials have since met with the family members who drew political support from local officials and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Schumer called Thursday’s action “important progress towards ensuring that the Krenzer Farm remains in Chili.” He said he will continue on the case “until an acceptable solution is found.”
“We’re grateful for all the hard work from so many people who, like us, are committed to getting this right,” Krenzer said. “We look forward to the work ahead of us and hope that RG&E will be fully willing to work with us to find the best site for the substation — one that will preserve the rich and long heritage of our farm ... while improving electric reliability for our community.”