Thursday, August 15, 2013

There's great news out of Albany today ... the state Public Service Commission has re-opened our case! This means we'll get to be full parties to a new discussion of this project and where the substation goes.  The vote was 3-0 and Commissioner Diane Burman made a special mention of the fact that the first time around, the Commission had "less-than accurate information" about the project.

So now's our chance. Team Krenzer has a lot of work ahead but I have to tell you, we feel so energized and supported by our friends and our community that we are eager to get going.

Everyone in the Krenzer family is happy about today's decision, including our children, who we hope will continue our 100-year tradition of family farming.  We look forward to working with the Public Service Commission, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Department of Environmental Conservation, RG&E and our community leaders to see that this energy project can go forward in a way that preserves 
farming for us and our neighbors.

I want to express a special thank you to the TV, radio and newspaper journalists in Rochester and Albany who gave us a chance to tell our family's story.

You can read the PSC's news release here ( It's headlined "PSC Orders Additional Review Of Transmission Siting Project."

In farming, it's a no-brainer that you devote time and energy today to create something that has long-lasting benefits. That truth will carry us through the next phase of this adventure!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NYS PSC scheduled to make decision Thursday, August 15th:

When you, lone citizens, are in the midst of a battle with a large corporation and several governmental entities – it’s hard to stay focused and know the effort will make a difference.

I am optimistic about our cause.  But, I have to say, this is the most exhausting assignment life has handed David and me and our family.

My days are spent talking with our attorney and the myriad of other professionals, advisors and friends on the ‘save our farm’ team.  We are blessed and grateful for the support. 

But we do have a farm to run.  My husband needs my time spent on carrying out the day to day stuff.  Every day is a struggle to discern the priorities.  On the good days, half of my time goes for the regular farm work.

OK, enough of my whining.  Here’s where we are today:

The NYS Public Service Commission has published the agenda for Thursday’s (August 15th) meeting.  We are on the rather long agenda as item # 367, Case #: 11-T-0534:
ROCHESTER GAS AND ELECTRIC CORPORATION - Application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the Construction of the "Rochester Area Reliability Project," Approximately 23.6 Miles of 115 Kilovolt Transmission Lines and 1.9 Miles of 345 Kilovolt Line in the City of Rochester and the Towns of Chili, Gates and Henrietta in Monroe County. Petitions for Rehearing.

This item is currently found in the “Consent” portion of the agenda, which is neatly defined in the Explanation of Agenda section:

The agenda is divided into two sections. The Consent Agenda consists of items that because of their nature, can be decided by the Commission on the basis of written reviews and analyses previously made available to the Commission and do not require discussion. Any item on the Consent Agenda can be transferred to the Regular Agenda if discussion is required.

I am not sure what this means exactly.  Does this mean the decision has already been made?  There may, or not be any open, public discussion of our petition and the commission’s decision to grant or deny.  This makes it difficult to access where we stand. 

To the individuals who serve on the Commission, this is just one item in a long list.  To us, this is our farm.  Land tilled and toiled over by generations of Krenzers is at stake here.

We need the Commission to grant a Rehearing.  Without the rehearing, we are stuck with an approved plan that literally breaks apart our home farm.

We are stuck with the future electrical substation being planted in the heart of our home farm and taking more than three football fields worth of fertile soil out of production – forever.

We are stuck with a new access road that cuts right through the farm.

We are stuck with three transmission lines and nearly 90 brand new utility poles being stuck in the land for us to maneuver our equipment around.

If we are granted the Rehearing, we will have the opportunity to present a better plan.  A plan that still allows RGE to meet its goals for this project but doesn’t gash a scar in our farmland and bust a hole in our future.

There is a way for our farm and this project to co-exist. We’re happy to lay it out. But now the Public Service Commission has to vote so that we can.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chris Churchill is a journalist for the Albany Times Union, which is the major paper in the state capital. He writes a column called “The Advocate” that focuses on stories of regular people who aren’t getting a fair shake from contractors, companies, government agencies and the like.

Last week he devoted his Sunday column to our fight to save our farm and to get RG&E and its parent company, Iberdrola, to work with us. It’s a terrific piece that you can read here, but let me give you a few excerpts.

“The Krenzers aren't battling against the usual farm problems. It isn't the economy, competition or weather that worry them. Their problem is the Spanish company Iberdrola and a state regulatory process that treats land owners as an afterthought.”

“Here's the situation: Iberdrola wants to build a massive substation and more on the Krenzers' land in Chili, near Rochester, and the company spent 19 months winning the legal right to do so. But the Krensers say neither Iberdrola nor the state detailed the plan to them, even though it will involve acquiring family land by eminent domain.”

“`They're about to take their property,’ said David Dunning, the Chili supervisor, `and nobody bothered to tell them what they're doing or how they're going to do it. It reeks.’"

As Mr. Churchill notes, this isn’t a NIMBY situation. We know our area needs more reliability electricity and understand why the project is needed. We just think it can be done in a way that doesn’t devastate our family farm.

Here’s one last point from Mr. Churchill:

“I've reviewed many of the documents filed with the PSC by Iberdrola, and I'll say this: The company offers little in the way of proof that it actually met with the Krenzers. There are no meeting notes or minutes, for example, and it's shocking how rarely the family is even mentioned in the thousands of pages of filings.”

Mr. Churchill and the Times Union have done their readers a service by telling our story.  We hope the New York State Public Service Commission is listening.

Note: if you’re on Twitter, follow us at @savekrenzerfarm. While you’re at it, follow Chris Churchill at @chris_churchill.

And feel free to write the PSC Commissioners at:

New York State Department of Public Service
3 Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1350

Thursday, August 1, 2013

          David Krenzer operating the combine (grain harvester) with our two younger boys 'assisting'.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Our farm in South Chili, NY has been targeted for an electric reliability project.  What does that mean?  Good Question.  It means someone else has a “better” idea how best to use our land – and they have been taking steps to take it. 

They specifically are RG&E (Rochester Gas & Electric), a subsidiary of the Spanish owned Iberdrola Company.  The project proposes a ‘large’ substation – over three football fields in size ‘large’ – to be placed in the middle of our home farm.

The project proposes three transmission lines traversing East and West and then zig zagging through our active farmlands.  And the project includes an access road to the huge station that will further break up our land and disrupt our family farming operation.

I am Marie Krenzer, and we have created this Blog to inform those interested about our plight and our fight to save our farm.  There is a pile of detail to sort through to understand all of what is happening to our 4th generation family farm.

The Krenzers have been farming in this area for about 100 years. We don’t want to stop.

For now, simply put, it’s a battle. The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), which sits in Albany but includes someone from the Rochester area, has already approved this project.

And they did it without our approval, even though the project cuts through the middle of our farm.

We’ve asked the PSC to consider a new route for the project – one that won’t destroy our farm but still achieves the goal of better electricity transmission.

We’re told these kinds of appeals hardly ever succeed, and we can see why with the army of lawyers the utilities can hire to do their work.

But we’re not going to quit. We love our farm and want to hand it over to a 5th generation of Krenzers so they can pass it on to a 6th generation, and so on.

But RG&E and its parent company in Spain need to work with us to find a way to do the power line but not destroy our farm.

Here’s a news story that ran in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle two weeks ago. It lays out the story pretty nicely.  You’ll see us in the video. The older man unloading the wheat truck is my father-in-law, Tom.  He bought this farm over 60 years ago.  It breaks my heart to think of his life’s work being taken without a second thought.

We’ll be updating this Blog almost every day. There’s so much we want to say about this issue. Come back to see the latest updates and more discussion. Chime in with your comments.

Follow us on twitter at @savekrenzerfarm. Tell your friends. Please.

And if you’re so inclined, please write letters to the Commissioners who sit on the Public Service Commission. Their names can be found here.


And you can write to them at:
New York State Department of Public Service
3 Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1350

If you’re on Twitter, you can tweet right at them at @NYSDPS.

And you can go one further by tweeting right at RG&E, at @RGandE.

Thanks for joining our community. More to come….

Marie V.