Not over? Transource continues fight for powerline project after PUC rejection

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Despite the state Public Utility Commission's decision to put the kibosh on a proposed power line project in May, the energy company behind the proposal is fighting back.

Transource Energy filed two appeals with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania this week.

"Transource is pursuing a reversal of the PUC decision," said Transource spokesperson Abby Foster via email. "Regarding timing and next steps, each court will assign a docket number for the appeal and establish a preliminary procedural schedule which will be published."

The $372 million project originally proposed the development of 16 miles of new transmission lines in Pennsylvania and Maryland, including in York County. 

The company has argued that new transmission infrastructure is "necessary" to reinforce the electric grid, address reliability issues and reduce energy prices in the region.

This map shows the new proposed route for the Transource Energy powerline.

In May, PUC's commissioners voted unanimously to accept the opinion and order of Judge Elizabeth Barnes, who ruled in December that the project should be rejected because it serves little purpose and would have “detrimental” economic and environmental effects for nearby landowners.

Barnes, in her 153-page opinion, argued that Transource Energy failed to show a need for the project within the meaning of commission regulations and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code.

Existing monopole structures located in southern York County.

On Tuesday, PUC spokesperson Nils Hagen-Frederiksen declined to comment.

"The commission is reviewing the filings, but it would not be appropriate at this time to comment on litigation," he said via email. 

Transource's project would have included a new transmission line connecting a new substation in Lower Chanceford Township to the existing Conastone substation near Norrisville in Harford County, Maryland. 

More:State PUC rejects Transource power line project proposed in southern York County

A segment also would have run through Franklin County.

In October 2019, Transource filed a new scaled-back route that would no longer have affected those properties, instead expanding the size of the Furnace Run substation, constructing 4 miles of new line in that vicinity, rebuilding portions of existing lines and utilizing some existing structures instead of new infrastructure.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.