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Pa. judges recommend against power line

Virginia may have given a controversial power line an initial "yes," but Pennsylvania has given it an initial "no." In a ruling released late Thursday, regulatory judges in Pennsylvania recommended that the state's Public Utilities Commission deny applications from Allegheny Power and Dominion Virginia power to build the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line. A hearing examiner for the Virginia State Corporation Commission has recommended approval for the controversial power line, but only on the condition that West Virginia and Pennsylvania also sign off on the plan.

Virginia may have given a controversial power line an initial "yes," but Pennsylvania has given it an initial "no."

In a ruling released late Thursday, regulatory judges in Pennsylvania recommended that the state's Public Utilities Commission deny applications from Allegheny Power and Dominion Virginia power to build the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line.

A hearing examiner for the Virginia State Corporation Commission has recommended approval for the controversial power line, but only on the condition that West Virginia and Pennsylvania also sign off on the plan.

As drawn, the project would connect power stations in Pennsylvania with a substation in Loudoun County via West Virginia, along with Frederick, Warren and other Virginia counties.

Dominion Virginia and Allegheny Power argue that the $1 billion-plus line is needed to avoid rolling blackouts in Northern Virginia as early as 2011, while opponents say the line isn't needed and is simply a way for the utilities to sell more electricity, rather than supporting such steps as conservation and demand management.

Pennsylvania judges Mark A. Hoyer and Michael A. Nemec were less than impressed with the utility companies' arguments.

The utility firms... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Virginia may have given a controversial power line an initial "yes," but Pennsylvania has given it an initial "no."

In a ruling released late Thursday, regulatory judges in Pennsylvania recommended that the state's Public Utilities Commission deny applications from Allegheny Power and Dominion Virginia power to build the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line.

A hearing examiner for the Virginia State Corporation Commission has recommended approval for the controversial power line, but only on the condition that West Virginia and Pennsylvania also sign off on the plan.

As drawn, the project would connect power stations in Pennsylvania with a substation in Loudoun County via West Virginia, along with Frederick, Warren and other Virginia counties.

Dominion Virginia and Allegheny Power argue that the $1 billion-plus line is needed to avoid rolling blackouts in Northern Virginia as early as 2011, while opponents say the line isn't needed and is simply a way for the utilities to sell more electricity, rather than supporting such steps as conservation and demand management.

Pennsylvania judges Mark A. Hoyer and Michael A. Nemec were less than impressed with the utility companies' arguments.

The utility firms "settled on a global transmission solution because ... the true impetus for the [line] is to transport cheaper coal-fired generation from western [grid areas] to eastern [grid areas] and to encourage the siting of new generation in western [grid areas]," they wrote.

"We question the modeling that was done to support the alleged need for the [Frederick to Loudoun] segment," they added.

"We are extremely disappointed in this administrative recommendation, which runs counter to the evidence presented," says Paul J. Evanson, president of Allegheny Energy, in a press release.

"The independent regional organization responsible for transmission planning, determined that this line was necessary for the reliable supply of electricity to homes and businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and mandated its construction," he says.

Without the Pennsylvania segment of the line, the entire project is essentially useless, according to the Virginia hearing examiner's report.

The line could be built, though, even if Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia regulators all deny permission for the project to proceed.

A federal law passed in 2005 gives the Department of Energy the power to override state decisions in "National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors" - areas that include the Northern Shenandoah Valley and most, if not all, of the proposed route for the TrAIL project.

In Virginia, the fight over the line was ongoing even before the Pennsylvania report was filed.

The Piedmont Environmental Council and other opponents of the line officially filed their criticisms of the recommendation this week.

"This case is far from over and the brief filed with the SCC clearly outlines the defects in the recommendation made by the hearing examiner in this case," Christopher G. Miller, the group's president, said in a press release issued before the Pennsylvania ruling.

The three-judge Virginia State Corporation Commission will either approve or deny permission for the project sometime later this year.


Source: http://www.nvdaily.com/news...

AUG 23 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/16691-pa-judges-recommend-against-power-line
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