Transource deal would leave some York County properties untouched
A citizens group opposed to the Transource Energy power line project is celebrating after the company agreed to a scaled-back alternative route that will no longer affect 40 properties in York County.
The new route that was filed Thursday with utility regulators in Pennsylvania and Maryland would expand the size of the Furnace Run substation, construct 4 miles of new line in that vicinity, rebuild portions of existing lines and utilize some existing structures instead of new infrastructure.
The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission and the Maryland Public Service Commission must approve the revised proposal.
"This is a victory for us and for our neighbors," said Dolores Krick, president of Citizens to Stop Transource. "From the very beginning this solution seemed obvious, and thanks to the work of many people, we are pleased to announce that our farms, homes, and heritage will be saved from this unnecessary project."
The initial $372 million power line project would have placed 16 miles of new transmission lines through several Pennsylvania and Maryland counties. The lines would have crossed about 40 properties in York County.
With the alternative plan, both sides of the fight say they are in a better place moving forward.
“We appreciate the state agencies, incumbent utilities and landowner input received when developing this alternative,” said Todd Burns, Transource director. “We are pleased to present this alternative to the respective commissions for their consideration.”
The York County Planning Commission, also a party initially against the project, released a statement on Oct. 17 showing support for the new changes.
"The reconfigured route minimizes land use impacts. This alternative is consistent with the principles of the York County Comprehensive Plan and mitigates impacts to the agricultural community and natural resources in the project area," the release states.
The release also lists some benefits from the settlement, including the planning commission's collaboration with Transource on providing input on a construction plan, the commission receiving funding from a settlement to be directed toward land protection efforts and the commission receiving compensation to recoup legal costs associated with the case.
However, an issue that remains unaddressed is the effect on the state's ratepayers, according to Citizens to Stop Transource.
Pennsylvania ratepayers could see an increase of $350 million to $500 million over the next 15 years because the project would drain so much power from the state, the group said in its news release.
It is now up to the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate and state legislators to fight to reduce the financial impact on ratepayers.
— Reach Tina Locurto at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.