Last week over 125 people gathered at the Rapidan fire hall to discuss how to protect our community and this historic and scenic landscape from the newly proposed Remington-Pratts-Gordonsville Transmission Project.
From our initial look, the new 230-kv line is expensive and doesn’t address local needs. Dominion is proposing to replace 53 ft frames with 107 ft steel monopoles. At best, it provides some additional redundancy. More likely, it’s part of Dominion’s long-term effort to build a bigger transmission system that allows them to sell more power outside of Virginia.
The Piedmont Environmental Council and the newly formed OMC Alliance hosted the joint meeting to provide information and discuss next steps. Since last week, Dominion has added a new routing proposal (the ‘purple’ route) that runs through the heart of the study area that we wanted to make sure you are aware of. View a full-resolution map >>
At the Meeting We Discussed…
The permitting process will be conducted by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) – a process that begins with a filing of an application, expected later this month or in early June. We also showed the destructive impact of the proposals on our community, particularly on agricultural operations, historic resources and the scenic character of the area.
There is a need to engage elected officials now, securing resolutions from the Board of Supervisors, and reaching out to Delegates and Senators, and candidates running for office. Congratulations to OMC for organizing effective participation and action at the Madison Board of Supervisors meeting that same night. As well, we will need help from elected officials to improve state code related to the way the SCC evaluates new transmission lines and weighing the true costs to communities and ratepayers.
We also spoke of coming changes to the routes proposed for the study area. While conservation easements have largely been avoided, the possible routes snake and weave through the area, often following the borders of protected parcels and becoming a blight for much of the historic landscape. The impacts of any of the proposed routes devalue past and future conservation efforts, reduce the scenic qualities that attract tourists, and would become an eyesore for a landscape that has remained largely intact over the last 200 years.
Please take this opportunity to get involved now by taking the following actions:
- Communicate to elected officials and candidates. Find your elected officials.
- Join PEC and OMC Alliance in this fight (contribute, become members)
- Encourage your friends and neighbors to sign up for PEC action alerts to ensure you do not miss opportunities to participate in the SCC process or attend future community meetings and receive updates.
If you were unable to attend the meeting in Rapidan, find out more on our website and consider attending our annual meeting this Saturday, May 16 in Gordonsville. This event is an excellent place to meet PEC staff who are working on this issue.
PEC is also honored to be able to include Andrew McRoberts, Esq. of the firm Sands Anderson in our Linear Infrastructure workshop that morning. Mr. McRoberts, a noted local government attorney, successfully argued in the Virginia Supreme Court for the protection of local zoning authority against the State Corporation Commission’s decision in the Dominion electrical transmission line project to cross the James River and its historic viewshed.
Director of State Policy
The Piedmont Environmental Council