SCC Chooses Two Routes for Haymarket Power Lines

| April 24, 2017 | 0 Comments | News

Dominion Power maps of recommended line (2015.)

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has chosen two possible routes for the Haymarket 230 kV double circuit transmission lines and told the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to choose between them.

The two lines are the “Railroad line” and the “Carver Line.”

The decision, made April 6, is being highly criticized by residents. They object because the 120 feet power lines can be seen from a distance and obstruct views.

Citizens requested the “hybrid alternative” line to run along I-66 and be partially buried. It is by far the most expensive alternative. The SCC felt the Railroad Line was the least intrusive since it runs along freight railroad lines and would be hidden by some greenery.

The Railroad Line was the first alternative Dominion Power recommended in 2015. It was met with a huge outcry from residents from residents of Greenhill Crossing and Somerset Crossing.

When Dominion recommended the Carver Line, residents were still unhappy with that choice.

Residents are further upset the power lines are needed to accommodate an Amazon database center, not the need of an existing business or residential use.

In a release titled “It’s All About the Money” Delegate Bob Marshall (R-10th District) noted the commission acknowledged the lines are not for the people.

As per April 6, 2017, the SCC wrote.

We find that the proposed Project will promote economic development in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the Haymarket area, by serving the customer’s planned data center. Tax revenues associated with the proposed data center will likely have a significant positive impact on Prince William County. (p.19)

Marshall says the ruling is in opposition to the Virginia Constitution.

“Both proposed routes (Railroad and Carver) require the condemning and taking of private property…The Constitution of Virginia states: the General Assembly shall pass no law whereby private property  [shall be] taken except for public use…  [Taking] of private property is not for public use if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development.  [Art 1, Sect. 11].’

Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland said he would prefer the SCC to choose the hybrid route and will not take part in choosing between what he called two unacceptable alternatives.

“No matter how you look at the Railroad or Carver Road options, there will be no minimization of their negative impact on the community. These routes are simply unacceptable,” said Candland in a newsletter to constituents.

Candland asked the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to stand with him to demand the SCC reconsider its recommendation and instead select the I-66 hybrid route. He said the “single customer” should shoulder the cost.

However, the SCC has given the supervisors just 60 days to comply, and after that said they would direct Dominion Power to build the line along Carver Road.

“Let me be clear-” wrote Candland in a newsletter dated April 17. “I will not be bullied by the SCC as they try to off-load their responsibility in making this decision. I am more committed than ever to continue the fight and urge the SCC to reconsider its recommendation to and to select the I-66 Hybrid Route.

Elena Schlossberg, the vocal leader of the Coalition to Protect Prince William County, agrees that the commission favored industry over residents.

“Today’s ruling saddens me because the SCC clearly ignored the alternative favored by most stakeholders: the partially-buried I-66 hybrid route. Instead, the SCC favored two routes that directly affect homeowners and businesses in the Haymarket and Gainesville area, despite the availability of a better option that hurts no one and makes pay for its power just like the rest of us,” Schlossberg continued.

Schlossberg also criticized the commission for leaving the decision to the supervisors.

“That’s right. The SCC refuses to make the hard calls between routes – it’s real job – but happily and openly subsidizes a favored industry. Who do they serve? Not ordinary citizens, surely,” she said.

“The Coalition remains steadfast,” Schlossberg said, on the coalition’s website. “Our goal remains I-66 and buried. Our leadership is undeterred by the SCC’s abdication of responsibility. As always, with community support, we will take this fight where it needs to go. Stay tuned.”

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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