The following is the text of a letter The Piedmont Environmental Council put together during March 2016 in advance of the State Corporation Commission public hearings on case PUE-2015-00017.
We are writing in regards to the 230-kV transmission line proposed between Gordonsville and Remington. Based on your address, you are among the landowners who live close to the existing line or within the original study area released by Dominion. The process before the state has begun and we wanted to make sure you know about some important upcoming meetings.
Some background: The application filed with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) is to replace the existing 115-kV line with a 230-kV line. The current 52 ft wooden “H” poles would be replaced with larger steel monopoles, at approximately 103-107 ft. This change in structure and height would have a major impact on the landscape and the numerous historic and scenic resources within the immediate area.
Please find attached our map showing Dominion’s preferred route, the original study area and a graphic representation of the proposed tower design.
While Dominion is now requesting the option of upgrading the existing line as its preferred option, the original proposal and study area sought to connect the Pratts substation in Madison to the existing Gordonsville to Remington line somewhere close to the Rapidan River. As Dominion has chosen the upgrade of the existing line as its preferred option, we believe the connection to Pratts is not likely to gain any serious traction with the SCC. However, once before the SCC, staff could fallback to some version of the original proposal.
This 230-kV project is tied to several proposed upgrades to existing transmission lines, though Dominion claims this upgrade is separate and necessary in its own right. Some of the land, both within the study area and along the preferred option, is under conservation easement and the majority of that land is prime or important agricultural soils. Several historic and Civil War sites are also impacted. Scenic Byways and the Rapidan River (likely eligible for scenic status) also fall within the study area.
The Piedmont Environmental Council has some experience dealing with Dominion and transmission line proposals through our region. In cooperation with the Orange Madison Culpeper Alliance (omcalliance.org), we are writing to invite you to learn more, get involved in the SCC process, and to join us in this effort to preserve this beautiful region. Both PEC and OMC Alliance are filed as respondents to the SCC case (case number: PUE-2015-00117) – a process that operates much like a court proceeding with witnesses, testimony and cross-examination.
Next Steps — Community Meeting & SCC Public Hearing
The Piedmont Environmental Council and the OMC Alliance cordially invites you to a community meeting we are hosting. Please join us prior to the public hearing to learn more about the proposal, its connection to other projects in our area, and how you can be involved.
April 18, 2016
Rapidan Fire Hall
9729 Locust Dale Rd.
Rapidan, VA 22733
The State Corporation Commission will hold its first hearing in the affected area. This will local residents best opportunity to weigh in on the proposal and we strongly encourage you attend and express your concerns on the project’s need, design, and impacts to resources.
State Corporation Commission Public Hearing
April 28, 2016
4:30pm session, 7:00pm session
Orange County High School
201 Selma Rd.
Orange, VA 22960
We will also post new information to our website, www.pecva.org, as it becomes available. Looking forward to seeing you on April 18th and the 28th.
The Piedmont Environmental Council
Orange Madison Culpeper Alliance
- Dominion filing – November 13, 2015
- SCC Order and Notice – Dec 29, 2015
- Dominion notice to all landowners – February 9, 2016
- Filing as a respondent – March 12, 2016
- Local Public Hearing (OCHS) April 28, 2016 4:30 and 7PM
- Filing of testimony and exhibits by respondents – May 10, 2016
- Staff filing of comments and filings – May 27, 2016
- Dominion rebuttal testimony/filings – June 14, 2016
- Written or electronically filed comments due – June 21, 2016
- Evidentiary hearing (public hearing and testimony of all witnesses) – June 28, 2016
More about PEC and OMC Alliance: The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC): PEC is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1972 to promote and protect the Virginia Piedmont’s rural economy, natural resources, history and beauty.
The Orange Madison Culpeper Alliance (OMC Alliance): OMC Alliance is a group of concerned citizens from Orange, Madison, and Culpeper who have organized to create a strong unified voice and a comprehensive plan for how the land is utilized.