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PATH Campaign Information and News


Fact Sheet from the WV Chapter
Comments needed to National Park Service by Aug. 20, 2010

PATH Yard Signs are AVAILABLE now!
They're showing up everywhere!  If you ordered signs and haven't picked them up yet, you get one more chance. If you didn't order, we still have signs available. They're just $3 each, and it's quite impressive to see a string of them in a row!

In the Eastern Panhandle contact Keryn Newman 304-876-3497 , in Morgantown area contact Jim Kotcon 304-594-3322

Check out the NEW WEBSITES   and 


Big news in our fight against the PATH line:  in the Virginia proceeding, the companies have admitted what we've been saying all along - that the application they have on file is based on faulty, outdated analysis, and the line is not actually needed when they said it will be.  They are seeking to withdraw the application, and we will find out next week whether the hearing examiner allows that or dismisses it. We are arguing that he should dismiss it with prejudice. Of course, the companies are not admitting that there's any possibility the line isn't needed at all and plan to come back in June 2010 with new analysis showing that it is still needed. They seem to be planning to keep their WV and MD applications on file and just submit new evidence in June (the WV proceedings have been delayed until June, and a schedule has not been set in MD yet). We will argue for dismissal in those states as well. 

The bigger picture here is that these companies had a goal of wheeling more coal-fired power to eastern markets, but in order to get the line approved and financed had to fabricate a "need" for the line based on reliability -- and it didn't work. As soon as competent, independent experts looked at it, their evidence unraveled.  Major kudos to our attorneys Wil Burns and Abbie Dillen who have gone above and beyond for this case. Although the line isn't dead yet, this is major progress.

See below for a nice article by Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette, crediting Sierra Club's participation.

December 29, 2009

New studies question need for PATH power line

By Ken Ward Jr. Staff writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Developers of the proposed PATH power line have asked Virginia regulators to withdraw their permit application, saying the latest analysis no longer indicates the $1.8 billion project is needed by 2014.

Lawyers for American Electric Power and Allegheny Power, partners in the PATH project, said the new studies don't yet show when the power line might be needed. They don't know when they might file a new application in Virginia, but don't expect to do so before at least the third quarter of 2010. 
The new developments, revealed Tuesday in a filing with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, further muddy the future for PATH, which is already facing numerous delays and other hurdles. 
In West Virginia, the state Public Service Commission last month delayed its formal hearings on PATH until late 2010, and said it would not make a final decision on the project's application until February 2011. 
And in Maryland, the state Public Service Commission in September threw out the PATH application, ruling that it was improperly filed because a PATH company formed for the project was not an "electric company" under Maryland law. 
AEP and Allegheny have been seeking approval in three states for a new, 765-kilovolt line that would start near the John Amos power plant in Putnam County and run for more than 275 miles to a new substation proposed for Frederick County, Md. They've dubbed the line the Potomac Appalachian Highline, or PATH.

Power company officials said the project is needed to shore up the nation's ailing electrical grid, and, as proposed, "minimizes the effect on the natural and human environment."

But the project faces strong opposition, in part because PSC approval would allow the power company to use eminent domain to obtain rights-of-way from landowners. Other critics say that PATH, like the already approved TrAIL power line, is little more than a huge extension cord to allow more pollution-causing coal-fired power to be sent from Appalachia and the Ohio Valley to East Coast population centers.

In late October, new expert testimony filed in the Virginia case by the Sierra Club questioned whether PATH was really needed to protect the reliability of the electrical transmission system. 
And in its new Virginia filing, the PATH developers quote from a letter they received from the regional transmission grid manager, PJM, saying that PJM's latest studies no longer support PATH being needed by 2014.

"These new developments raise questions about the support the application now on file with the commission that is based on a need for the PATH project in 2014," the power company lawyers said in their Virginia filing.

Abigail Dillen, an Earthjustice lawyer representing the Sierra Club in the Virginia case, said Tuesday, "PATH is a boondoggle for ratepayers and a gift to coal companies."

"We urgently need a smart electrical grid that supports wind power and other clean energy projects, but AEP and Allegheny Energy are trying to sell us on lines that will only help dirty old coal plants to ramp up profits -- and pollution," Dillen said.

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at or 304-348-1702.

On April 16, PATH announced another delay in construction and the filing of their application with all three states.   To quote the press release:  “The one-year schedule change results from a recent reliability analysis by PJM Interconnection (PJM) that considered various factors, including its 2009 load forecast.”   In other words, the need isn’t there, folks!  However, they go on to state that PATH is critical to grid reliability and needed by 2014 (an extension of one year on the in-service date).  They now expect to file their applications “in the second quarter”, which means by June 30.


Governor Manchin’s transmission tax bill was defeated in the regular legislative session.  Thanks to everyone who called and emailed legislators to let them know their opposition to this bill!  However, it is rumored that Manchin may re-introduce this bill during a special session in May.  We have to remain vigilant and be ready to renew our campaign at a moment’s notice.  The West Virginia Environmental Council’s lobby team in Charleston is working for us to keep an eye on the legislature and need your financial support to continue to sponsor lobbyists in Charleston.  The E-Council is setting up a Paypal account to accept donations to pay for the lobbying – we will have a separate email in a few days asking folks to contribute just $5 each to help pay for this essential service!


Under the auspices of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, we have received a $2000 grant from The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Henry A. Jordan, M.D., Preservation Excellence Fund.  These funds must be used for public education purposes and we have tentatively ear-marked them for creation of radio and TV public service announcements.  The funds, however, cannot be used to pay for advertising space so we will still need to put our efforts toward fund-raising for this endeavor.


Patience, Keryn, Debbie Royalty, Beth Ann Boyd and John Christianson recently met with WV PSC Consumer Advocate Byron Harris in Summit Point.  It was not a satisfactory meeting, in the sense of changing Byron’s mind about the need for PATH, but it did open a constructive dialogue, and he promised to meet with us again. We will be working to identify and gather solid evidence we can present to him that takes on PATH’s case that it’s needed – since we know it’s not needed, and in fact moves national energy policy in the wrong direction.


PATH has been busy over in Loudoun County buying up properties in the River’s Edge Open Space Easement.  Recently, they asked the County to release the easement for the construction of PATH.  Three cheers for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors who denied PATH’s request and refused to release the easement!


FERC recently appealed the Fourth Circuit Court’s decision returning the right to deny applications for transmission lines to individual states under the NIETC designation and was denied.  Their next remedy is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Word from Virginia is that PATH has hired a consultant to paint opposition as a bunch of NIMBYs to minimize our concerns and cloud the issue.  Let’s remember to keep our message on target!  It’s not about “my backyard” but lack of need for PATH.


There is lots of PATH news available at Bill Howley’s website, We would particularly recommend the following stories, however the whole blog is excellent reading:


We recently learned of a 2006 study done by the Maryland Public Service Commission that concluded: 


Research on ELF fields has been performed for more than two decades, and the methodology and quality of studies have improved over time. Studies have consistently shown increased risk for childhood leukemia associated with ELF magnetic fields, whereas ELF fields most likely are not a risk factor for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. There are still inadequate data for other outcomes.”


To read the entire study:


We have heard your frustration with calling or sending in comments about PATH to Journal Junction that are never printed, while ludicrous pro-PATH comments that suggest opponents have their electric service cut are regularly printed.  Keryn recently had an email exchange with The Journal’s new editor, Heather Goodwin-Henline.  She denied any bias and recently printed two comments from PATH opponents.  She also offered to intervene when comments that are within Junction guidelines seem to be disregarded.  Now is the time to flood The Journal with opposition comments!  Please keep a copy of your submitted comments, and if they are not printed, send them to Keryn at and she will bring them to the editor’s attention.  Journal Junction submissions can be made online here: or by calling (304) 263-3381, ext. 333 or (800) 448-1895, ext. 333.  Please review the comment guidelines before submitting.


As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.


Keryn Newman 304-876-3497

Patience Wait 304-876-1515


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