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P.A.T.H. hearing draws crowd

Residents filled the auditorium of Washington High School on Monday evening in hopes that their voices would be heard and a change would be made to the proposed route for a high-voltage power line slated for construction in the area. Nearly 150 people turned out for a public hearing about P.A.T.H., which stands for Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, and is a joint venture of Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power that was announced last year.

Jefferson residents speak out against route for high-voltage power line

CHARLES TOWN - Residents filled the auditorium of Washington High School on Monday evening in hopes that their voices would be heard and a change would be made to the proposed route for a high-voltage power line slated for construction in the area.

Nearly 150 people turned out for a public hearing about P.A.T.H., which stands for Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, and is a joint venture of Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power that was announced last year.

The transmission line, as proposed, will run through parts of Jefferson County, as well as Maryland and Virginia.

Monday's hearing was sponsored by the Jefferson County Commission, and President Dale Manuel said the intent was to gather comments and create a record that will be submitted to the West Virginia Public Service Commission. The record will make the agency aware of what county residents think about the proposed project, he said.

The message was loud and clear. Residents said they do not want the proposed project to come through their community.

"We can't have this P.A.T.H. come through Jefferson County," said resident Allison Marley.

Marley... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Jefferson residents speak out against route for high-voltage power line

CHARLES TOWN - Residents filled the auditorium of Washington High School on Monday evening in hopes that their voices would be heard and a change would be made to the proposed route for a high-voltage power line slated for construction in the area.

Nearly 150 people turned out for a public hearing about P.A.T.H., which stands for Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, and is a joint venture of Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power that was announced last year.

The transmission line, as proposed, will run through parts of Jefferson County, as well as Maryland and Virginia.

Monday's hearing was sponsored by the Jefferson County Commission, and President Dale Manuel said the intent was to gather comments and create a record that will be submitted to the West Virginia Public Service Commission. The record will make the agency aware of what county residents think about the proposed project, he said.

The message was loud and clear. Residents said they do not want the proposed project to come through their community.

"We can't have this P.A.T.H. come through Jefferson County," said resident Allison Marley.

Marley said she was a small farmer, like many of her neighbors. She said she has cattle, but she questioned who would want to purchase them if a high-voltage power line is strung up on her property.

"There's an economic impact," she said.

And there were fears that there could be implications for residents' health as well. Mothers, fathers and principals alike took to the microphone Monday evening expressing concerns about what the line could mean for the health of local children.

Compounding those fears is the fact that some routes currently being considered would bring the project in close proximity to several schools, including Washington High School and South Jefferson Elementary School, residents said.

It's not something that Richard Jenkins, principal of South Jefferson Elementary School, can support. He said he went to the hearing to speak for the employees and students who spend long days inside the school and numerous hours playing outdoors.

"We are 100 percent against any such lines in our area," he said.

Jenkins said he is not willing to take the chance of having the lines installed, only to find out in years to come that they are associated with increased health risks, such as cancer.

And still other speakers noted that the health of the environment could be at risk as well if the lines are built. There could be considerable damage done by the lines, said resident Sharon Wilson.

Wilson said the reason that lines could be placed in Jefferson County might be that no one else wants them. Residents in Morgan and Berkeley counties put forth significant lobbying efforts to ensure that the lines went elsewhere, she noted. Following an outpouring of opposition there, the routes were readjusted, and Jefferson County became the only portion of the Eastern Panhandle that is still included in the project's route.

"This is a case of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard)," she said.

But longtime resident and community leader Donald C. "Doc" Master said he may have had the solution to the problem years ago.

"I wish my plan to secede Jefferson County had gone through," he told those in attendance.


Source: http://journal-news.net/pag...

FEB 10 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19019-p-a-t-h-hearing-draws-crowd
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