Time to move on [Editorial]

It’s time for Transource Energy to let go of its proposal to build miles of overhead electricity transmission lines that cut through northern Harford County and move on.

Gov. Larry Hogan said the company should reevaluate its plan, a harsh assessment from Maryland’s pro-business governor. Harford County’s delegation to the state legislature got bills aimed at making it tougher for the Transource project to happen, with more, undoubtedly, on the way.

Residents of northern Harford County, who fear the project will infringe upon their properties, or those merely concerned about the deleterious effects of more high-voltage, overhead power lines to transmit electricity, have been opposed to the project from the start.

Recently, the company reviewed the project, claimed it still makes sense financially and vowed to push forward.

More recently, three experts painted an entirely different picture of the project and what it will mean for residents and consumers of the power it ostensibly will provide. Those experts submitted testimony to Pennsylvania’s Office of Consumer Advocate asserting the project, a $320 million proposal commonly referred to as the Independent Energy Connection, or IEC, is too costly and unnecessary.

“I conclude, therefore, that Transource has failed to demonstrate that there is an economic need for the IEC Project,” Scott Rubin, one of the experts, submitted in testimony. “In fact, PJM in general and Pennsylvania consumers in particular would save millions of dollars each year if the ICE Project is not built.”

Any negative environmental impacts could be mitigated simply by using the towers carrying either of the existing two power transmission lines in the area, another of the experts said in testimony.

Just because well-informed people with a lot of experience in such matters, and powerful elected officials are opposed, doesn’t mean state regulators won’t eventually approve the project. Nor will there necessarily be any impact on the project’s approval from the fact that other viable alternatives have been identified.

We believe, however, it’s time for Transource Energy to move on from this plan and come up with another that is more palatable to all involved parties.

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