Northern Harford community dug in for fight on big power line project, leader says

Northern Harford community dug in for fight on big power line project, leader says
The map shows some of the potential routes under consideration in northwestern Harford County for a high voltage overhead power line, part of the proposed Independence Energy Connection enhancement to the regional grid. (Transource Energy/Handout)

Community resolve is still strong to fight a proposed overhead high voltage power line through a portion of northwestern Harford County, the chairman of a local community advisory board said Wednesday.

Transource Energy, developer of the Independence Energy Connection to improve distribution of power over the regional electricity grid, still has "a fight on their hands," said David Seman, who chairs the Jarrettsville-Norrisville Community Advisory Board.


He gave a brief update on the issue during the board's monthly meeting at the Jarrettsville Library. About 50 people attended.

Seman said the community is still waiting to hear from Transource on its selection of a final route for the 15-mile line, planned to connect a new switching station along the Susquehanna River in southern York County, Pa., with the existing Conastone switching station near Norrisville.

The company has said it will make that announcement in early fall, after which it would seek required regulatory approvals in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Seman said he expects the community to keep fighting the line, regardless of the route chosen.

The routes under consideration "are still pretty intrusive," he said. The northwestern Harford community is still mainly rural, and the lines would go through farmland and woodlands, including the well-known Shaw's Orchard on the border between the two counties.

Others attending noted there is strong opposition in both Harford and York counties, as well as in other counties in the western part of the two states where a similar line is planned as part of the same $622 million regional project.

Transource officials have said they are taking steps to minimize community impact, including using monopole rather than lattice supports for the line, which would cover about three miles in Harford.

Seman called the August open house Transource hosted on the project at Norrisville Elementary School "very structured," which he said he expected.

But he warned that bowing down to pressure to end opposition should not be an option because providing the right-of-way for the power line "will be there for generations."

"If they come through your property, it's in perpetuity," he said. "You don't know what may be there in the future — if they will still have power lines –- but something will be there for your children, your grandchildren."

"You'll be making a deal with the devil," he added.

Harford County’s “Choose Civility” campaign kicked off with a breakfast event at the Water’s Edge Events Center in Belcamp on Wednesday.