An unfamiliar feeling: power-line relief

So, as you may have heard, there’s this ginormous new power line that’s been proposed for Northern Virginia.

This story is way too large, and tangled, for me to thoroughly cover in this space. But I can say three things: One, our local environmental defenders, the Piedmont Environmental Council, have been seriously on the case for a while now, agitating against the line on a number of fronts. Two, the project has had a major recent setback in Pennsylvania (the NoVa line, planned by Dominion, was meant to connect with another planned by PA-based Allegheny Energy).

Three, this issue has an unusual personal resonance for me, since the Pennsylvania portion of the 500-volt line was slated to pass directly over my dad’s house.

Over a year ago, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review dissed my dad and his house by accepting a ride over the proposed power-line route in an Allegheny Energy helicopter and then giving voice to the company’s claims that "we’re not putting it in people’s yards" and that the land in question is "very rural" (read: empty). I spotted the story, wrote a pissed-off letter, and succeeded in getting another Tribune-Review reporter to visit my dad, walk his land, and interview some of his neighbors.

Now comes word that Allegheny Energy has given up on putting a line along that route.

It’s a nice and unfamiliar feeling to be so relieved about something a power company could have done but won’t. I’m savoring it. People in West Virginia will continue to contend with the planned line, though, and we still don’t have a final decision from the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Seems like a good time to remind ourselves and our government that we really can solve a lot of our energy woes just by replacing light bulbs, ditching the T.V., and unplugging our phone chargers. Conservation, people! Dig it!

People like my dad will thank you.



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