Large crowd expected at York County Farm Bureau's powerline meeting

Jana Benscoter
York Dispatch

An informational meeting about a proposed above-ground, high-voltage powerline project is expected to draw a capacity crowd, officials confirmed.

The meeting, hosted by the York County Farm Bureau, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Airville Volunteer Fire Co., 3576 Delta Road in Airville.

The meeting will provide landowners with information on eminent domain and agricultural security areas as well as educate attendees on their rights regarding the pending multi-million dollar Independence Energy Connection project. 

Landowners ask questions about their property, and how it will be affected by a preliminary proposal of an above-ground power line. Jana Benscoter/photo

The eastern portion of the project, which spans southern Pennsylvania into northern Maryland, could affect York County residents in Hopewell, East Hopewell, Fawn and Lower Chanceford townships.

Transource Energy was hired by PJM Interconnection, a regional electric transmission grid operator, to construct a new substation and miles of new transmission lines to alleviate an "electrical bottleneck."

PJM claims the regional project, which includes the western portion of the project slated for construction in Franklin County, will save ratepayers more than $600 million over 15 years. 

A final project route, which includes construction of 135-foot towers and miles of new transmission lines, has not yet been presented to the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, Transource Energy spokeswoman Abby Foster said.

“If their land is part of a state preservation program, it is not immune from eminent domain,” Pennsylvania Farm Bureau spokesman Mark O’Neill said.

Unlike two open house meetings hosted by Transource this summer, the Thursday meeting is not to influence the project, O’Neill said.

More:Landowners reject Transource Energy's second preliminary map

More:Powerline project could lower bills, disrupt views, spur court battle in York County

More:Southern York landowners await electricity transmission line proposal

“We’re still in the process of inputting comments,” Foster said. “We hope to have a proposed route to announce in either September or October and to file the application with the Pennsylvania Utility Commission and Maryland’s Public Service Commission before the end of the year.”

Many of the study segments initially presented have been removed and Transource is soliciting input on the refined preliminary alternative routes, shown here, prior to determining a proposed route to file with state regulators.

The second revised route presented to landowners in August removed half of the affected properties that were presented to landowners at the June open house, Foster said. 

The York County Farm Bureau has invited speakers from the state Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation, Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocates and the Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law.

The bureau has confirmed that there is no room for additional landowners to attend, O’Neill explained.