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Don’t just postpone W.Va.-Md. powerline project, discard it

January 19, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), planned by the regional transmission authority PJM Interconnection with both the American Electric Power Company and Allegheny Energy owning and operating the approximately 275-mile 765-kilovolt line from West Virginia to Maryland under the pretense of modernizing the current electrical grid by 2015, must not be merely postponed but flatly dismissed by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. PATH must be replaced in favor of a more equitable and cost efficient plan that addresses first and foremost the utility needs of West Virginia residents. The PATH project will benefit PJM's fifty-one million customers in thirteen states and the District of Columbia with little benefit to the citizens of West Virginia. PJM's service area is a key indicator of where the majority of the produced electricity is going. Placing PJM's service area along side PATH's projected route, running through a large segment of the state, and it becomes evident that West Virginia will bear the majority of the burden associated with the project while failing to realize the largest share of the potential benefits. Large utility projects as land expansive as the PATH project almost inevitably entail numerous right-of-way disputes and eminent domain cases that leave ordinary individuals at a legal disadvantage to the almost unlimited resources of the regional utility coordinators.

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