SCC Decision – Construction of Haymarket Transmission Line Project

April 17, 2017

Over the past two years, we have been working hard to fight Dominion Power’s plan to build 230kV transmission lines that cut through neighborhoods and historic areas – all to service one customer.  We have been unified in our message – if you are going to build the transmission lines, select the I-66 Hybrid Route that partially buries the lines along I-66.  Well, this week the decision arrived from the State Corporation Commission (SCC) and despite an overwhelming majority of residents and elected officials pleading with the SCC to select the the I-66 Hybrid Route, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) has recommended that Dominion Power use the “Railroad Route”.

SCC Decision

In their “considerations” the SCC determined that the Railroad and Carver Road routes both met the statutory criteria, but that the Railroad Route is preferable.  Their justification is that these options will, in their own words, “minimize adverse impacts on the scenic assets, historic districts and the environment of the area concerned.”  

No matter how your 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.
I have asked my fellow members on the Board of County Supervisors to stand with me and the community to demand that the SCC reconsider its recommendation and select the I-66 Hybrid Route.  While the SCC has stated they believe this option is too costly, I believe that the additional costs should be shouldered, not by the taxpayer, but by the single customer that this transmission line will serve.

The SCC has given Dominion Power 60 days to seek permission from the Prince William Board of County Supervisor (BOCS) to build the line along the Railroad Route, after which Dominion Power must inform the SCC on whether or not the route is still blocked. If permission is not given by the BOCS, then the SCC has directed that the transmission lines be built along the Carver Road Route.

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

Below you will find the SCC’s notice of their decision. We must continue to stand together and protect our property and our quality of life.

 

SCC AUTHORIZES CONSTRUCTION OF HAYMARKET TRANSMISSION LINE PROJECT
Directs Dominion Virginia Power to Seek Prince William County Permission to Build Along Railroad Route
RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has authorized Dominion Virginia Power (DVP) to construct a new 230-kilovolt electric transmission line and a new substation in Prince William County and the town of Haymarket. The SCC also directed DVP to request Prince William County to remove any legal constraints blocking construction of a portion of the transmission line along the Norfolk Southern Railroad, known as the Railroad Route.

In determining the route for the project, the SCC found that both the Railroad Route and the Carver Road Route meet the statutory criteria. The SCC concluded that both of these routes will reasonably minimize adverse impacts on the scenic assets, historic districts and the environment of the area concerned.

The Commission concluded that of these two routes, the Railroad Route is preferable because it has lesser impact on local residences. The Railroad Route is the only route that impacts zero residences within 200 feet of the centerline. Moreover, the heavily wooded area along this route will provide screening, aiding to minimize remaining visual impacts of the line.

The SCC gave DVP 60 days to seek permission from the county authorizing construction of the Railroad Route or provide notice to the Commission that construction of the Railroad Route remains blocked. If DVP remains legally blocked from construction of the Railroad Route, the SCC stated, “… the proposed project would need to be constructed along the Carver Road Route, which we also have found meets the statutory requirements.”

The SCC also found the Railroad and Carver Road Routes preferable to the two routes proposed along the I-66 corridor. The Commission stated the I-66 Overhead Route would impact a significantly greater number of residences within 100, 200 and 500 feet of the line. The SCC noted that the I-66 Hybrid Route, which placed approximately 3.2 miles of the line underground, would have a significantly greater cost of construction and would be more difficult to construct than any of the alternative routes considered. The SCC found that the costs and adverse impacts of the I-66 Hybrid Route were neither reasonable nor in the public interest.

The SCC said, “… the Commission reiterates that it has fully considered all of the evidence presented in this record and, thus, is not unmindful of the impacts that will result from the proposed Project. Thus, in performing our statutory responsibilities, the Commission has endeavored to weigh reasonably and carefully the competing evidence and arguments presented in this record.”

In its interim order, the SCC found that the project is necessary for DVP to comply with mandatory reliability standards. In addition, while a single customer is driving the current need for the line, the Commission further stated that the project will permit DVP to maintain reliable electric service to its other customers and support overall growth in the area.

The SCC continued the matter pending further order on the final routing of the project.

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