Update – Fighting Against the Destruction of WV

The Rally against the high voltage power lines at the Arnoldsburg Community Building on October 17 was a huge success. Approximately 70 people attended. Altho the Bluegrass Band was a no-show, the alloted time was taken up with an informative power point presentation by members of CAP from Mon and Tucker Counties, an enthusiastic speaker from the Sierra Club who actually handed out paper, addressed and stamped envelopes, and pens, so that people could write to the Governor about their concerns on the spot. A short but lively speach was given by Steve Gormezano, a Roane County citizen whose land the power lines could be very near. His ending remark of “We CAN stop this thing” brought much applause.

The Mountain Party candidate for Governor, Jesse Johnson, was also on scene and spoke at length about the alternatives to supporting this power line. He is the only candidate for governor who is actively against the power lines and mountaintop removal, promoting instead sustainable energy produced by wind, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal and solar energy.

Calhoun County Commissioner, Bob Weaver, expressed that the Commission would entertain the idea of an anti-power line resolution for the county. At this time, several citizens from the Roane/Calhoun/Gilmer areas, with lots of help from Bill Howley (calhounpowerline.wordpress.com), are putting the finishing touches on a proper resolution to be brought before the County Commission.

Bill Howley states that “Tucker, Hardy, Jefferson Counties all have copies of their resolutions filed with the WV PSC.  They are all available on the PSC Web site under the PATH case documents.  Morgan County’s Commission has passed a resolution opposing the line.  Berkeley County is in the process of passing a resolution, because one commissioner didn’t like the wording of the proposed resolution.  So in the near future there will be five counties on record as opposed to PATH.”

Here is an exclusive sneak preview of the resolution as it now stands:

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WHEREAS, the members of the Calhoun County Commission have been elected
to serve and protect the collective interest of citizens of Calhoun
County, WV, and

WHEREAS, Allegheny Energy (Allegheny) and American Electric Power (AEP)
have proposed the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline 765 KV
electrical transmission line to pass through Calhoun County, WV, and

WHEREAS, the PATH project is intended to deliver electricity to the
Northeastern Corridor of the United States with relatively little or no
benefit to West Virginia customers of either Allegheny or AEP, and

WHEREAS, the rights of way required by the PATH line will be a minimum
of 200 feet in width and will significantly damage and restrict land use
and value along the entire Calhoun County section of the line, and

WHEREAS, the PATH is designed to transmit electricity from existing and
new coal-fired power plants and will reduce the need for advanced
natural gas-fired generating plants both in West Virginia and in the
Northeast Corridor causing direct economic harm to Calhoun County’s
natural gas industry, and

WHEREAS, under policies of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
Allegheny Energy is allowed to include construction and operating costs
of the PATH line in electric rate increases for its customers in Calhoun
County, who will receive no benefit from the line, and

WHEREAS, scientific and medical research has demonstrated adverse health
effects in humans and wildlife from chemical herbicides used to maintain
rights-of-way and electrical magnetic fields generated by the line
itself, and

WHEREAS,  the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources has
documented high levels of mercury in the fish in our state the
construction of new coal-fired power plants to feed the PATH will
destroy a major state resource and pose additional health risks to the
citizens of Calhoun County and the state as a whole, and

WHEREAS, the US Department of Energy has announced that Calhoun County
lies within the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor (NIETC)
which would eliminate the need for Allegheny Energy and American
Electric Power to perform an environmental impact study concerning the
impact of the PATH line on the environment and people of Calhoun County,
and this same NIETC designation would allow the power companies to seize
the property of Calhoun County citizens by federal eminent domain
powers, and

WHEREAS, a secure, reliable and economically efficient electrical power
system can only be assured by a decentralized power grid fed by a wide
range diverse energy sources, not by huge transmission lines fed by a
few large generating plants burning primarily coal, and

WHEREAS, by making electrical rates lower in the Northeast Corridor and
adding to increased rates in West Virginia, the PATH line will reduce
West Virginia’s attractiveness for businesses seeking to locate in the
state because of our lower cost electricity, and

WHEREAS, major programs to reduce electricity demand and create local
power generating capacity in many states in the Northeast Corridor, most
recently the state of New Jersey, makes PATH unnecessary for its stated
purpose, and

WHEREAS, PATH is an inefficient use of resources, because large amounts
of electricity on large transmission lines are lost when electricity is
transmitted over hundreds of miles, and

WHEREAS, it is likely that AEP will construct up to four new coal-fired
generating plants in West Virginia and eastern Ohio to feed PATH,
increasing the destruction of West Virginia streams, communities and
land from mountaintop removal coal mining and generating large amounts
of new air pollution that will harm the health of Calhoun County
citizens living downwind of these plants,

WHEREAS, the $1.8 billion proposed in PATH construction costs could be
better invested in improving the reliability and security of local West
Virginia electrical infrastructure and more diverse and secure
generating capacity in the state, and

WHEREAS, the proposed PATH project does not demonstrate a need to
originate or pass through West Virginia,

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Calhoun County Commission does
hereby oppose the construction of the PATH within the boundaries of
Calhoun County, WV, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Calhoun County Commission expresses its
support for and agreement with other counties in West Virginia that
oppose the construction of PATH within their boundaries.

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At this time the most important thing you can do to help is to educate everyone you know. Many people at this point in time are still totally unaware of this issue. The other thing to do right now is to flood the Governors office and the PSC office with complaints.

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