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York County recommends PUC deny Transource power line
Hugh McPherson, of Maple Lawn Farms Farm Market & Orchards, reacts to Transource proposal for location of power lines through corn maze.
York County is officially opposed to a proposal for a new transmission line that would wind through the southern part of the county into northern Maryland.
The commissioners voted Wednesday, Feb. 7, to adopt a resolution recommending that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission deny the application submitted by Transource Energy.
PJM Interconnection hired Transource to build the $320 million "market efficiency" project, known as the "Independence Energy Connection."
The east segment of the project includes approximately 16 miles of new overhead electric transmission line that will connect a new substation in Lower Chanceford Township to the existing Conastone Substation, near Norrisville in Harford County, Maryland.
President Commissioner Susan Byrnes said the company's proposed path goes "right through some of our precious farmland," and announced that she and the other commissioners had already sent a letter opposing the project to PUC officials.
Transource's application was formally published in the PA Bulletin on Jan. 20, giving interested individuals or groups until Feb. 20 to file a legal protest to the project.
The PUC granted Transource a certificate of public convenience — giving the company public utility status — in December for York and Franklin counties, but PUC spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen emphasized that Transource still needs approvals for any projects.
Abby Foster, a Transource spokeswoman, said the company's proposed pathway was influenced by discussions with potentially affected landowners and open-house meetings.
Public input also has led the company to alter its proposal to include the use of steel monopoles, which Foster said would allow typical regional farming practices to continue within the path's right-of-way.
The proposed power line wouldn't be benefiting electricity consumption needs in York County but rather surrounding counties south and west of the line.
Foster said the need for the additional power line was determined by PJM, and she added that York County residents have likewise benefited from recent power-line improvements in Indiana and Westmoreland counties.
Once the applications are published and the formal protest period is completed, public hearings will be scheduled, and the PUC will look at a number of factors, including need, existing land use and alternative plans before making a final decision, according to Hagen-Frederiksen.
— Reach David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.