PATH Moves Forward Amid Growing Opposition

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled in July that Potomac Edison Company qualifies as an electric company, which allows the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) to move forward in the approval process to build the $2.1 billion, 765-kilovolt line that will run in part through Frederick County and end at a proposed substation in Kemptown.

The opposition to PATH and large-scale transmission projects is growing among activist groups and other power companies, and 11 states have joined forces to express continued opposition to establishing and enacting new national transmission policy as noted in the American Clean Energy Leadership Act.

In the ruling, the PSC said it will not consider the company to have filed a complete application “until such time as it files the evidence on which it relies to prove ‘the need for the project in meeting demands for service.”’

Adding to the list groups who have filed petitions to be interveners in the case, Urbana Corporate Center, LLC, and Natelli Holdings II, LLC, filed a joint petition with the PSC July 14.

According to documents, both parties believe they can provide “relevant and necessary information concerning issues germane to this proceeding and no other part can adequately represent their interests.”

Meanwhile the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed four public scoping meeting in July, one in Frederick, and will continue to seek public input through the fall on the environmental and social impacts of PATH if built.

PATH would potentially cross 2.5 miles of four national parks: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Chesapeak and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, as well as the northern portion of Monongahela National Forest in Tucker County, W.V.

Comments are encouraged and should be submitted online at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/appa or by mail to National Park Service, Attn: PATH EIS Planning Team, Denver Service Center-Planning, P.O. Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225.

PATH Alternatives Submitted

Two separate companies, Dominion Virginia Power and Northeast Transmission recently submitted alternative proposals to the PATH project with PJM, the authority responsible for identifying the power needs.

Sugarloaf Conservancy representatives believe both proposals have the advantage of being multi-part “so that fixes can be phased in as needed rather than done in one large project such as PATH.”

“A phased-in approach would allow wind power to flourish whereas PATH would be detrimental to the development of renewable energy projects,” said Doug Kaplan, president of Sugarloaf Conservancy.

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