The following statement to the northern Harford County and Southern York County communities was released by Transource Energy regarding the Independence Energy Connection project. A copy was provided to The Aegis.
Communities are made up of people and the infrastructure that supports their daily lives. Highways, roads, bridges, railroads and power lines are part of the landscape.
Transource understands the importance of and need for new infrastructure and respects landowners and land use in the community. That’s why we asked for your opinions about the Independence Energy Connection project. Even though some folks may not support the project or line route, we heard repeatedly that you appreciated being included in the process.
In June, we announced the overhead electric transmission line project and started a dialogue with community members and directly involved landowners in Pennsylvania and Maryland. We presented of hundreds of miles route options and listened as you shared information about your property and your community, as well as your input on the proposed transmission line study segments. We answered your questions about the proposed project and valued your input.
After the first six informational meetings, we went to work to integrate your feedback into refining study segments under consideration for the line routes for the East and West portions of the project. We returned in August with four more open houses. We listened as you worked with us over detailed maps, and talked about your community, your concerns, area land use and your property.
Your involvement in the transmission line route development was tremendous. More than 1,000 people attended the 10 open houses, and we received more than 2,500 comments through the project website, emails and phone calls. You talked, and we took note of every handwritten comment on a map, phone call to the hotline, letter and comment card.
Our dialogue included conversations about responsible construction practices that respect the environment and your property, and the operation and maintenance of the transmission line.
We heard about the valuable role agriculture plays in this region and our engineers worked to ensure typical farming practices in Harford County, from crops to orchards, could continue to exist within the right-of-way.
We also talked about our practices to fairly compensate landowners when we acquire easements for the new line, including compensation for potential impacts or crop loss during construction and restoration.
While we couldn’t incorporate every change, we heard you and considered your concerns with the other factors and constraints. We identified existing land use, sensitive species and habitats, soils and topography, historic and cultural resources, and we looked for opportunities to parallel existing power lines and roads before defining the proposed line route we shared with you in October.
Our proposal also reflects suggestions to minimize the impact to farming land. We will use steel monopoles along the majority of the route, except in areas where engineering standards or topography require a different structure.
The next step in the project is to submit regulatory applications to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the Maryland Public Service Commission. Both regulatory bodies will conduct thorough reviews of PJM Interconnection’s assessment of the need for this project, take additional public comment and review the siting criteria used to select the proposed route.
We want to thank you for your participation in the process and assure you that we listened.