Central Pa. landowners relieved as PUC rejects controversial powerline project: ‘We fought hard’
Hundreds of landowners in York and Franklin counties received notice from the state on Monday telling them their land is no longer part of a utility dispute.
Last Thursday, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission voted 4-0 to reject a controversial overhead powerline project proposed in southcentral Pennsylvania. Transmission lines would have been constructed in both York and Franklin counties, which would have crossed over into two northern Maryland counties.
Landowners, lawmakers, and the state Office of Consumer Advocate in Pennsylvania, along with several of their counterparts in Maryland, including Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, requested the project be scrapped. The battle had been going on for over four years.
Transource Energy, the contractor selected by PJM Interconnection, was tasked to get the necessary regulatory approvals to build the project. PJM, the regional grid transmission operator, said it had identified the project’s need almost five years ago. Officials claimed there was a “bottleneck” of power that wasn’t freely flowing south into northern Maryland.
Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth H. Barnes, assigned to oversee the case of Transource Energy’s application, recommended in December that commissioners deny approval of the project. Her explanation went on to say that congestion costs had “substantially declined by over $400 million since 2014″ without the new transmission project.
“Further, the project will have detrimental economic and environmental impacts on real estate values, farming practices, natural springs, trout fishing, an elementary school, the Tim Cook Memorial Cross Country Course, businesses, the Owl’s Club, local government, and tourism in Franklin County,” she said.