Legal challenges continue for the undersea transmission line.
When the Connecticut Siting Council granted a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need approving the Cross-Sound cable in January 2002, it determined that the project would provide a public benefit and would not have an environmental impact constituting "sufficient reason to deny the application." The 330-MW transmission cable was installed beneath the seabed of Long Island Sound between Connecticut and New York in the spring of 2002, months after the state siting and environmental permits, and a federal dredging permit were granted for this electric transmission line project.
The pre-installation permitting process was non-linear (see "Chronicle of a Transmission Line Siting," Public Utilities Fortnightly, Jan. 1, 2003), but the post-installation political, legislative, and administrative agency process has demonstrated a chilling new reality: The permitting process may not have an endpoint, and political/legislative obstacles to transmission line siting may be more effective than opponents' direct challenges to the granting of permits based on an agency's application of statutory permitting criteria.
The Cross-Sound cable, at the time of this writing, is in operation pursuant to federal order, while opponents continue to try to shut down the cable. What happened in 2003 to delay the project, and how might the ongoing struggle affect similar projects proposed or under way?