West Virginia counties face eminent domain
In announcing the designation of a Mid-Atlantic National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor on October 2, the U.S. Department of Energy has subjected 42 counties in West Virginia to eminent domain authority to site power transmission lines
Both Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power (AEP) of Ohio plan to construct high voltage power transmission lines across the state, possibly passing through southern Morgan County.
Allegheny has proposed a 500 kilovolt Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line across northern West Virginia. Allegheny filed an application with the West Virginia Public Service Commission on March 30 that included a "proposed path" through Grant, Hardy and Hampshire counties.
AEP is planning a 765 kilovolt Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline from Putnam County northeast into the Frederick, Maryland area. The path for this transmission line has not yet been determined.
"We expect to begin work on a site path early next year," said Melissa McHenry, AEP Corporate Media Relations. McHenry said AEP is committed to working with the state first, before taking it to the federal level.
The designation by the DOE allows the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to intervene if state authorities do not approve electric power transmission line applications within a year.
The DOE based its designation on data and analysis showing that persistent transmission congestion exists in the Mid-Atlantic region. The designation lasts for 12 years.
"These National Corridors serve as an important indication by the federal government that significant transmission constraint or congestion problems exist. The goal is simple – to keep reliable supplies of electric energy flowing to all Americans," Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said.
The Federal Powers Act, section 216 as enacted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, authorizes the Secretary of Energy to conduct periodic national electric transmission congestion studies and to designate National Corridors.
The Mid-Atlantic National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designation includes counties in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Virginia, as well as all of New Jersey, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
The designation covers West Virginia counties south to, and including Mason, Putnam, Kanawha and Boone counties. A map showing the designation is available at http://nietc.anl.gov.