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NYC’s Big Clean Energy Plan Is Under Attack From One-Time Advocate

Environmental group Riverkeeper initially supported a proposed 339-mile transmission line from Canada. It’s now asking regulators to reject the deal.

A man fishes off of rocks along the Hudson River near The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in Tarrytown, New York.
A man fishes off of rocks along the Hudson River near The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in Tarrytown, New York.Photographer: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

An ambitious project to deliver clean energy to New York City is facing sharp pushback from an environmental group that says the proposed transmission line will carry energy that’s not actually clean at all.

The $3 billion, Blackstone-backed Champlain Hudson Power Express project could begin construction as soon as mid-year after winning a state contract in November to provide Canadian hydropower to New York City—a key step in the city’s effort to wean itself from dirty fossil fuels. But local advocate Riverkeeper, a powerful environmental group that initially supported the plan, is now asking regulators to reject the deal, arguing that the hydro dams used to generate power are also significant sources of carbon emissions. The Sierra Club shares many of its concerns.