Grand Chief heads to NYC for important meetings regarding Hydro-Québec partnership
(Kahnawake – 21, Kenténha/October 2021) The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) wishes to announce that Ohén:ton Í:iente ne Ratitsénhaienhs (Grand Chief) Kahsennenhawe Sky -Deer will be in New York City on Thursday and Friday to participate with Hydro-Québec’s President/Chief Executive Officer Sophie Brochu in meetings regarding the joint partnership to transmit renewable energy from Quebec to New York City via the Champlain Hudson Power Express project.
Ohén:ton Í:iente ne Ratitsénhaienhs Sky-Deer will be accompanied by Chief Political Advisor Winona Polson-Lahache and Eric Doucet of MCK Legal Services.
Thursday’s agenda includes meetings with the owners of the Champlain Hudson Power Express; a group of New York environmental leaders; officials from the New York City mayor’s office; and the Bloomberg Media (a major business journal) editorial board.
Friday’s agenda includes meetings with various policy and advocacy groups; a tour of a housing development in Queens and meeting with the CEO of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens – both of which will be directly and positively impacted by the project. A meeting with Donovan Richards, the Queens borough president, is also confirmed.
On Saturday, before returning home, the Kahnawà:ke delegation will attend a special pre-opening event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which will be featuring an exhibit entitled Native New York, that profiles Kahnawà:ke and Mohawk involvement in the building of the New York sky line. The exhibit officially opens to the public on October 25th.
“This is an exciting and innovative project for Kahnawà:ke. Kahnawà:ke has a long and vibrant history with the city of New York, helping to build many well-known buildings that are a prominent part of the city skyline.
We were there in the building of New York, some of us raised our families in this city, and we assisted after 9/11” said Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Ohén:ton Í:iente ne Ratitsénhaienhs (Grand Chief), Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke. “Our ties to New York run deep and we’re happy to enrich that through involvement in the fight against climate change.”
On June 14 of this year, the MCK and Hydro-Québec announced that, in the event that Hydro-Québec was successful in its bid on the above energy supply contract, they would form a strategic partnership to jointly own a transmission line on the Canadian side of the border. The Memorandum of Understanding signed was historic for both Kahnawà:ke and Hydro-Québec: the first shared ownership agreement for an export transmission line. The partnership played an important role in the selection of Hydro-Québec, as New York wanted to ensure its selection would not impede Indigenous rights.
As per the partnership, the MCK will become joint owners of a 400-kV underground transmission line that will run from the Hertel (“Hertel Line”) substation in La Prairie to the US border – where it will connect with the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a line which will be built between the Canadian border and Astoria, Queens, New York. This will secure economic benefits for the community over a 40-year period.
Since the line will be constructed on Seigneury of Sault St. Louis lands, it was important for Kahnawà:ke to not only derive a benefit from, but to also regulate, the use of its traditional lands.
Importantly, the Hertel Line will be carrying a renewable source of energy which will help decarbonize New York City, a city which Kahnawa’kehró:non have a strong historical and emotional ties.
As is standard for an international project of this scope, a number of regulatory hurdles are expected, with the MCK lending its support as needed. Once these are completed, work will begin in earnest, with clean, renewable power deliveries expected to begin in 2025.
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