BG&E; seeks permission from court for expansion


Attorneys for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. asked a Circuit Court judge yesterday to reverse an Annapolis City Council decision denying the utility permission to expand its power station on Tyler Avenue.

BG&E; is seeking to expand the station, at Tyler and Bay Ridge avenues, to provide power needed for the Annapolis area, said ** Harold Blumenthal, an attorney hired to argue the case.

Mr. Blumenthal said the City Council improperly substituted its opinion last year when it overruled advice from the Public Service Commission in denying the special exception necessary expand the station.

Without a larger station, he said, the region will experience brown-outs during periods of peak electrical consumption. The only reason there were no brown-outs this summer or last winter was that both have been relatively mild, he said.

"The best science, the best technology available indicates that you need to locate the station in the area where the power is needed," he said.

The City Council voted to deny the expansion last July 8, based on concerns about health studies that link electromagnetic fields generated from power lines and power stations to cancer.

Mr. Blumenthal said that in several months of public meetings and hearings on the matter, there was never any conclusive evidence to show the station's expansion would be a health hazard.

He said there has yet to be any conclusive findings linking electromagnetic charges to cancer, and that the city based its decision on concerns that are unfounded.

Judge Williams did not rule on BG&E;'s request yesterday.

Neighbors told the judge they would rather utility officials err on the side of caution.

"In the scientific community, there has been many many sides and many different opinions on the effects and the possibility of harm," said Sandy Travis.

City Attorney Jonathan Hodgson said BG&E;'s experts found federal studies that discuss the possibilities of a link between electromagnetic fields and cancer.

That, he said, should be enough to reject the expansion.

"There has to be some scintilla of evidence supporting the finding of the administrative body, and in this case, there is," he said.

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