The natural beauty of the Mid-Hudson Valley is renowned, and as the area’s utility, Central Hudson takes proactive steps to ensure the region’s unique and valuable natural resources are preserved. Protecting the environment serves to enhance the quality of life here, and Central Hudson only uses construction and design methods that minimize environmental impacts when maintaining our vital natural gas and electric infrastructure. Our employees live here, too, and most are originally from the region. So our commitment to the environment is a priority for all of us.
Today, Central Hudson continues in that tradition by, for example, using minimally invasive construction methods in rebuilding older transmission lines. Recent projects utilize helicopters to deliver new poles and materials, reducing the use of heavy trucks and equipment in environmentally sensitive locales. And, during construction, endangered species, such as the Timber Rattlesnake, were identified, and their habitats protected. Substations, too, are built with a protective barrier to prevent any materials inside from making their way outside.
Central Hudson’s concern for the environment stretches back to the early 1900s, when the decision to build an underwater cable to cross the scenic Hudson River was made, rather than erecting an unsightly overhead line.
Protecting the environment is a priority with natural gas projects, too. In the early 1990s, for example, Central Hudson chose to cross the Hudson with a major transmission line by boring under the riverbed (at the time the longest and most extensive bore attempted in the country), rather than simply laying the line in a trench along the floor of the river, which would have disturbed aquatic life. Environmental protection is a major factor in designing and constructing smaller gas lines, too.
Recycling materials is another way Central Hudson protects the environment. Hundreds of tons of paper, cable, wire and other building materials are recycled under the Resource Recovery Program operation at our facility in Ulster County. As part of this program, employees of the Ulster Association for Retarded Citizens (UARC) sort, bale and ship this salvageable material. The recycling program not only saves valuable landfill space and energy by reusing these materials, it also provides employment for individuals who, although functionally impaired, have the training and ability to make a significant contribution to the protection of the environment.
Today, Central Hudson is in the process of cleaning the sites of seven former Manufactured Gas Plants in the region, which were built and operated by predecessor companies to Central Hudson. These are among the more than 300 plants throughout New York that, during the late 1800s to mid 1900s, produced gas from coal and oil for heating, lighting and cooking before the introduction of natural gas. Although these plants have long since been retired, some of the by-products of the manufacturing process remain. Central Hudson is committed to a thorough and comprehensive cleanup of these sites, and is working voluntarily with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct these clean-ups. Cleaning these sites is important to the environmental health of the region, as it will allow these sites to remain in safe and valuable use.
Environmental protection is a priority at Central Hudson, and we take our responsibility seriously. All of us at Central Hudson are proud of our environmental accomplishments, both past and present, and we are committed to continuing as a partner in the preservation and enhancement of the region’s environmental heritage.