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WV Sierra Club Appeals TrAILCO Decision by WV Public Service Commission
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by Bill DePaulo | 2009

The West Virginia PSC justifies its decision on a new powerline without acknowledgement of the lack of need for more coal-fired electric power. GO FIGURE!

On February 13, 2009, the PSC issued a decision summarily rejecting all requests for reconsideration of the August 1, 2008 decision granting TrAILCo’s application for authority to build the electric transmission line from Pennsylvania to Virginia, crossing West Virginia’s eastern panhandle.

In the course of the February 13, 2009 decision, the PSC acknowledged the Sierra Club’s argument that “TrAILCo did not establish the need for the TrAIL project by the year 2011” — the due date set by PJM, the grid operator and defended by TrAILCo in the course of the hearings on its applicaiton — and observed that “The Sierra Club is correct regarding timing.” The PSC’s 2-19 decision asserts that the need for TRAIL, perhaps in 2014 or later, justified the August 1, 2008 decision, a position not claimed by either PJM or TrAILCo, the chief proponents of the TRAIL line.

Simultaneously, the PSC denied the Sierra Club’s request for a continuing prudence review based on the fact that PJM had extended to June 2014 the delivery date for PATH — a second electric transmission line initially claimed necessary in June 2013 — on the basis of decreases in PJM’s own projections for electric demand publicly acknowledged by the CEO of American Electric Power following the September 2008 crash of financial markets, and after the PSC’s August 1, 2008 order, and PJM’s 2006 directive to Allegheny Energy (TrAILCo’s owner) to build the TRAIL line.

Based on these inconsistencies — and others detailed in the Sierra Club’s pleadings before the PSC — the Sierra Club will seek review of the February 13, 2009 decision by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

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