Elected Officials Say Haymarket Data Center Would Violate Nat’l Historic Preservation Act

| May 18, 2017 | 0 Comments | News

Image of high voltage power lines from the Dominion Power website.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th District) and Virginia State Senator Dick Black (R-13th District) sent a letter, Wednesday, informing the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) that the Amazon data center planned to come into Haymarket may not be in compliance with provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act in regards to its proximity to Buckland Mills, a Virginia Civil War Battlefield.

SCC- ACHP Letter (1)

The data center is at the center of controversy over proposed 230kV Transmission lines Dominion Power wants to build to serve the data center project in Haymarket to which many residents are adamantly opposed.

“The very controversial data center project parcel located almost six miles outside of an industrial area is located within the core area of the Buckland Mills Battlefield. Consulting parties to the project have also expressed serious concern,” wrote Marshall in his May 17 letter.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation was created to advise the president and congress on interests of national preservation. National Battlefields fall within their purview, and as such the National Historic Preservation Act may apply.

The council consulted with Corp of Engineers (Norfolk District) in early March of 2017, expressing cause for concern that the location could jeopardize the preservation of the battlefield.

“The Corps, in consultation with the Virginia SHPO, has determined that the undertaking will have an adverse effect to the battlefield, which has been determined eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places,” wrote Charlene Dwin Vaughn, Assistant Director for the Federal Permitting, Licensing, and Assistance Section Office of Federal Agency Programs.

Historic Advisory Council Amazon Data Center (1)

Marshall and Black have urged the SCC to delay approval of any route for the proposed transmission line until the AHPC is done with its review.

“The AHPC letter makes it clear that the data center and the proposed transmission line will affect several historic battlefields and they have initiated a 106 review of the projects,” wrote Marshall in a May 17 release. “It is clear that VAData did not follow the procedures for this review before building the first data center building on the property and clearing the land for the other buildings.”

In April, the Virginia State Corporation Commission approved two possible route for the high voltage power lines, but neither the “Railroad” route, nor the “Carver” route was accepted by the community.

Haymarket residents who requested that the SCC agree that Dominion Power should partially buried the lines and run them along Route 66 were disappointed to learn of the SCC’s decision. Marshall, who joined with other local officials to oppose several routes proposed by Dominion Power since they were announced in 2015, was likewise unsatisfied with the results.

And, although the commission said the Prince William Board of County Supervisors could decide between the two routes, it is not something their members would choose to do. According to Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland, neither choice is sufficient and he will continue to fight for a better alternative.

“As elected representative of residents of the affected area, we request that the State Corporation Commission defer final action in the VAData proceeding until the Corps of Engineers has formally completed all of its statutory reviews and obligations raised by the May 17 Advisory Council of Historic Preservation letter,” wrote Marshall.

© 2017, Stacy Shaw. All rights reserved.

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