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Prince William County Will Not Serve as Respondents in Haymarket Power Line Hearings

| April 4, 2016 | 0 Comments | News
Image of high voltage power lines from the Dominion Power website.

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

Residents are concerned that the county will not serve as a respondent at the State Corporation Commission’s Gainesville-Haymarket Transmission line hearings, as per the decision of the Board of County Supervisors. 

Recently, the board reversed its previous decision about the manner in which the county would participate in the hearings. 

Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland (R) and Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R) voted in opposition to the motion, which was made in closed session. 

“I stated at that time and still feel the county should continue as a respondent, but unfortunately only Supervisor Jeanine Lawson and myself voted for the county to remain as a respondent in the case,” said Candland. “We still maintain that burying the power lines along I-66 is the best option, and do not support any other routing plan.”

Candland sent Bristow Beat and Haymarket Beat a statement, explaining that he was disappointed by the outcome of the board’s vote.

“I am exceedingly frustrated and disappointed over the Board of County Supervisors voting to remove itself as a respondent. I led the initiative to have the board file as a respondent in this case so the county could testify before the SCC board,” Candland wrote.

He explained that the county attorney offered a “perceived legal rationale” for the board to recuse itself from the case.

April 30, Elena Schlossberg sent an email on behalf of the Coalition to Protect Prince William County, expressing the citizen groups’ dismay over the decision.

“It was a shock to me when I heard the county had, in closed session, with no warning, and no explanation, withdrawn its intent to be a respondent in the Haymarket Transmission line SCC case. If ever the community needed its government to act on its behalf, now was the time.”

She said the board acted on behalf of its citizens in the TRAILCO transmission line case of 2006, so she expected they would also act also in this matter.

Dominion Power has proposed a non-buried route along I-66 as its preferred route; however, as the SCC is the deciding body, it can choose any route – even one never proposed by Dominion Power.

Meanwhile, there has been overwhelming citizen opposition to the power lines with opposition groups agreeing that the only acceptable plan is Dominion’s “Hybrid Alternative” a partially buried route along I-66. 

There is also controversy over the need for the high voltage power lines: to power new data centers.

The SCC already held two hearings. There will be another May 2 at 7 p.m. at Battlefield High School in Haymarket.

The Prince William Coalition has written a letter and the blog post on the subject, which according to Schlossberg, they have shared with their thousands of supporters.

Schlossberg said she did receive a message from Chairman Corey Stewart (R), who said it was in the best interest of the county to not appear to take sides in a matter that could affect so many neighborhoods. Had there not been other groups that have come forward, Stewart said they would have served as respondents. However, since, there are others, he believes it is not the best use of the county government’s resources.

However, Stewart said the county would offer testimony in favor of the burying the power lines, and the supervisors could testify individually as well.

Candling said he plans to do as much as possible as a supervisor to continue to fight against the power lines and data centers.

“I refuse to accept that the need of one private entity justifies degrading the value of entire communities. I will continue in my commitment to communicate our message as loudly as possible, with or without the support of all Board members.”

He commended the efforts of the private citizens for their tremendous effort and sacrifice of time to the issue. He encourages everyone to come out to speak at the May 2 hearing.

© 2016, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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