PATH Opposition Groups Keep Busy

Photo | Submitted

C.A.K.E.S. President Dick MacColl shows Congressman Roscoe Barlett the proposed route of PATH at the June 7 Go Green Expo at the Frederick Fair Grounds.

As Frederick County residents await the decision by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) on the fate of PATH, opposition groups are continuing their push for pulling the plug on the project.

Since the June 3 PSC hearing, the Citizens Against the Kemptown Substation (C.A.K.E.S.) group has continued its outreach efforts, including setting up shop at a June 7 green event at the Frederick County Fairgrounds to help spread the word on Allegheny Power’s proposed plan to build a 765-kilovolt transmission line and substation in Frederick County. Visitors to the booth included state delegates, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett and Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen.

“We had many come to our booth and want more information, so it was a great place to be with this great visual,” said Ginny MacColl, vice president of the organization.

In addition, C.A.K.E.S. hosted an open house June 12 with nearly 200 new faces stopping by to get up-to-the-minute information on PATH, background information on the potential health risks, and even expert opinion regarding the impact PATH would have on real estate values in the area.

“It was a very neighborly event; neighbors helping neighbors,” said MacColl.

Meanwhile, another PATH opposition group, the Sugarloaf Conservancy has continued its outreach efforts by supporting recent green energy developments including the Maryland’s Atlantic Offshore Wind Consortium Partnership announced June 8. This group is comprised of states along the Atlantic coastline and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. Energy Department estimates that Maryland has “outstanding” wind resources, rivaling or exceeding that of Midwestern land-based wind resources.

In the announcement Governor Martin O’Malley said “offshore wind energy offers vast potential to create jobs for our workers and to help stabilize utility costs for our families while increasing grid stability.”

The group also organized transportation for about 20 Frederick County residents to the June 3 hearing, which included oral arguments from attorneys representing both Sugarloaf Conservancy and C.A.K.E.S.

Nearly two years into the stand against the original plan for PATH, Doug Kaplan, president of the Sugarloaf Conservancy has learned a great deal about how Frederick County gets its energy and has more questions than answers, including the projections of PJM and wonders why the only numbers used by Allegheny Power to assess need are generated by PJM.

“I think someone needs to look at other numbers as well,” he said.

Kaplan said the organization was originally not opposed to PATH; it only wanted a study done on burying the lines. Now, however, Kaplan said the he hopes the PSC does “the more sensible thing of being cautious and looking at alternatives” such as wind energy and demand response.

Because organization, research and legal assistance require time and money, the groups are also using events such as the C.A.K.E.S. open house as a fundraiser.

“We did pretty well,” assessed MacColl, who said funds will go towards attorney and expert witness fees. “These things are very expensive.”

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