Staff Ask PSC To Dismiss PATH Transmission Line
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The PSC Staff gets it! But what about the Commissioners?
On May 15, 2009, a consortium of American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy filed an application with the WV Public Service Commission for approval to build the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), a 230-mile long, high-voltage (765-kV) transmission line from John Amos power plant in Putnam County, across central and eastern West Virginia and northern Virginia, to a new substation south of Frederick, Maryland.
The Sierra Club is opposed to this line because of the adverse impacts to the land along the route (PATH crosses the Monongahela National Forest, Harpers Ferry National Park, the Appalachian Trail, and the C&O Canal), and because it would serve to expand transmission of coal-fired electricity, increasing the amount of air pollution and undercutting cleaner energy sources elsewhere. Due to unexpectedly low electricity demand and problems with the proceedings in Virginia and Maryland, the application has been delayed repeatedly.
On Dec. 10, 2010, the Staff for the PSC asked that the application be dismissed because better alternatives were available and because the PATH application did not include needed information.
In particular, an upgrade of an existing line by Dominion Energy (Mt Storm to Doubs) would largely relieve the need for PATH, without requiring a new transmission corridor. It would be considerably shorter, cost only $300 million, compared to $2 billion for PATH, and would not require any new land for transmission corridors.
The Sierra Club recognizes that reliability of the transmission grid is important, but there does not appear to be any legitimate need to spend $2 billion for PATH, when existing lines can serve our needs.
What You Can Do!
1) Write to the WV Public Service Commission, PO Box 812, Charleston, WV 25323 and ask them to reject the PATH application.
2) Express your opposition with Sierra Club bumper stickers and yard signs (Call 304-594-3322).
3) Write or call your legislators and ask them to amend the PSC statutes to require that any new application for transmission lines consider indirect impacts of the line on surrounding lands, air quality, and scenic locations. Current law allows the PSC to ignore these adverse environmental impacts, and legislation to change that is needed in 2011.