Your Deluge Made a Difference!

Great job fellow Virginians! Almost 800 emails and a deluge of calls made an impression, quite a significant one! We will work on getting the video up soon, so you can see for yourself, the citizen concern regarding this bill was front and center.

And while the bill itself passed, the likelihood that it will be amended to include higher voltage transmission lines such as a 230 KV or 500KV would be VERY difficult given the commitment that this bill would NOT be amended. We must remain vigilant and will let you know when you need to make your voices heard again!

“HB1766 was reported out of Committee 18-1-1-1 (thank you Del. Hugo for being sensitive to your constituents concerns) this afternoon, but it was reported out without amendment, thus the bill for the moment (only applies) to 138kv transmission lines. Phase one of the defense plan successful and complete.”

Read the full story here:  The Derecho – Habeeb bill HB1766

1/17/17:

Committee vote is at 1:30 today

1/15/17:

Friends, it’s game on.  Time for another click-to-send email, this time to the General Assembly.

Some Coalition members predicted Dominion Power would exploit the current General Assembly session to avoid public feedback on projects that nearly always involve seizure and impairment of privately-owned land.  And they have!

In typical fashion, Dominion found a pair of willing political lackeys.  Proposed measures from Delegate Greg Habeeb (HB 1766) and Senator Bill Stanley (SB 1110) will quietly strip authority from local Boards of Supervisors to execute their own land-use policies. For citizens, local bodies are often the only venue for defending their property. And these bills are not just aimed at Prince William County, but at every local board statewide. Dominion is again looking to skirt regulation through legislation.

The audacity is almost unbelievable – except that it’s exactly what we expect from Dominion. Luckily, their constant underhanded behavior comes with a strong tendency to forget that groups like the Coalition are always watching.

You may ask, “What’s the issue?”  The Habeeb-Stanley bills would make SCC approval of a transmission line automatically include approval of related infrastructure, including substations that typically require separate local approval. The current bill applies only to 138kV lines – the smallest kind the SCC cares about – but we expect it will be amended to apply to all lines 138kV and up.

Substations are critical, as the local Amazon.com data center shows. Amazon needs so much power, its project requires a transmission line and a substation that then feeds into distribution lines for three planned data centers. Our Board of Supervisors – like any other – deserve the right to approve or not approve the substation, as current law requires. These measures will prevent a hearing and vote before our county Board of Supervisors, and stop our ability to have an impact on Dominion’s proposed Haymarket substation for Amazon.

Like any other entity, Dominion must participate in a process that also involves the public.  But they don’t want to. For obvious reasons. Delegate Habeeb and Senator Stanley have been persuaded to give Dominion a “get out of regulation free” card. And frankly, it’s odd coming from two attorneys who understand the importance of constitutional protections of private property and local decision making. It’s also downright hypocritical of Senator Stanley, who has publicly battled a utility threatening the property rights of his own constituents.  He must feel not all Virginians deserve the same protection.

Delegate Habeeb’s HB 1766 goes before the House Committee for vote this coming Tuesday, January 17.  Click here to personalize your own email to the House Commerce and Labor Committee members.  Tell them you see Dominion’s ploy in this legislation and you simply won’t stand for it. We cannot allow Dominion to take away our Supervisors’ authority, because our county, for better or worse, is often our last line of defense as citizens.  State delegates and senators are there to represent citizens, NOT to give big corporate entities – particularly those who can seize and impair property – yet another way to avoid being held to account for their action.  They all need to receive your email by this Tuesday, January 17, NOON!  (We will send another separate notice and provide a new click-to-send email in advance of Senator Stanley’s SB 1110 vote before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.)

Our goal in this outreach is to have 1,000 emails sent and we can do it!!!! Overwhelm their inboxes.  The committee members need to hear from us that these bills must die there.  If not us, who will protect our community?

NOTE:  If the server doesn’t respond when sending your click-to-send email, try again later.  In the meantime, you can also make their phones ring off the hook:

House Commerce & Labor Committee:  Habeeb HB 1766 (Committee vote Jan. 17)

First Name Last Name Capitol Phone
Terry G. Kilgore (Chair) (804) 698-1001
Kathy J. Byron (Vice Chair) (804) 698-1022
R. Lee Ware (804) 698-1065
Timothy D. Hugo (804) 698-1040
Daniel W. Marshall III (804) 698-1014
Benjamin L. Cline (804) 698-1024
Jackson H. Miller (804) 698-1050
G. M. (Manoli) Loupassi (804) 698-1068
Robert B. Bell (804) 698-1058
Gregory D. Habeeb (804) 698-1008
Ronald A. Villanueva (804) 698-1021
Peter F. Farrell (804) 698-1056
Israel D. O’Quinn (804) 698-1005
David E. Yancey (804) 698-1094
Margaret B. Ransone (804) 698-1099
Jeion A. Ward (804) 698-1092
Roslyn C. Tyler (804) 698-1075
Mark L. Keam (804) 698-1035
Eileen Filler-Corn (804) 698-1041
Kaye Kory (804) 698-1038
Joseph C. Lindsey (804) 698-1090

 

Senate Commerce & Labor Committee:  Stanley SB 1110 (Committee vote TBD)

First Name Last Name Capitol Phone
Frank W. Wagner (Chair) (804) 698-7507
Richard L. Saslaw (804) 698-7535
Stephen D. Newman (804) 698-7523
Mark D. Obenshain (804) 698-7526
Richard H. Stuart (804) 698-7528
Thomas K. Norment (804) 698-7503
John A. Cosgrove, Jr. (804) 698-7514
William M. Stanley, Jr. (804) 698-7520
A. Benton “Ben” Chafin (804) 698-7538
Rosalyn R. Dance (804) 698-7516
L. Louise Lucas (804) 698-7518
Ryan T. McDougle (804) 698-7504
Richard H. Black (804) 698-7513
Glen H. Sturtevant, Jr. (804) 698-7510

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1/7/17:

The recommendation of the above-ground Carver Road alternative by the SCC Hearing Examiner to the SCC Commissioners for the Haymarket Amazon powerline route is a surprise to everyone.   His recommended route parallels Route 29 from Gainesville, before cutting through neighborhoods and woodlands to swing north toward the Amazon data center. Homeowners, schools and businesses along Routes 29, 15, 55, and smaller residential streets throughout this area up to the town of Haymarket, including the HOAs of Villages of Piedmont, Somerset Crossing, Somerhill, Hopewells Landing, Haymarket Overlook, and Kennard Ridge, face the worst property and view shed impact.  Overhead high voltage transmission lines, with 112’ tall 4’ wide towers every 600 feet along a 100’ wide denuded path, will pass through your neighborhoods, right outside your homes, and alongside your schools.

The Hearing Examiner discounted community opposition to any above-ground route. He also rejected arguments by the Coalition and others that the cost of building a line benefiting a single, private customer – Amazon.com – should not be subsidized by rate payers. The Hearing Examiner’s findings will allow Dominion to pass on the cost of the proposed project to all customers statewide.  (Full details on this website)

So where does this leave you? It leaves you with a decision – do you sit back and wait for the SCC Commissioners’ decision, or do you speak out and step up now to protect you families, homes, and community.

 ACTIONS TO TAKE NOW:

Letters to the Editor – Richmond Times Dispatch

Your opposition to the overhead Carver Rd. route should be heard!  We must continue to voice our opposition to a transmission line project solely to provide power to Amazon – with the costs hitting our homes and our wallets.  The best way to register public input now is to submit letters to the editor in the Richmond Times Dispatch at:   https://richmond-dot-com.bloxcms-ny1.com/contact-us/forms/letter-to-the-editor/.  The three SCC Commissioners, based in Richmond, can’t miss something in that newspaper.

Letters to the SCC Commissioners

Letters can also be mailed directly to the SCC Commissioners at this address: P.O. Box 1197 Richmond, VA  23218.  Their names are:  James C. Dimitri – Chairman; Mark C. Christie; Judith Williams Jagdmann.

Donations to the Coalition

If the SCC Commissioners make a choice which the community does not support, the Coalition, as a formal respondent in the Haymarket powerline case, can appeal the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court – IF THAT IS WHAT THE COMMUNITY CHOOSES TO DO.  An appeal before the Supreme Court will require funding, from you, for legal representation.  The Coalition is your voice in the legal process.  The Coalition doesn’t exist without your involvement and financial support.  All funds at this point go to Coalition legal representation. There is no independent source of money or resources.  Go to DONATE or mail donations to PO Box 382, Haymarket, VA 20168.

Emails to the PWC Board of Supervisors

cstewart@pwcgov.org;jlawson@pwcgov.org;mnohe@pwcgov.org;gainesville@pwcgov.org;jjenkins@pwcgov.org; randerson@pwcgov.org;fprincipi@pwcgov.org;mcaddigan@pwcgov.org

Let them know how they can help:   They backed out as respondents to the case, but their citizens need them to stay engaged.  They have power and we need them to use it to protect their constituents.  They need to tell Dominion and Amazon that they will vote “No” on the Haymarket substation if any above-ground route is chosen to provide power for Amazon’s need.

 

This has been a long and less-than-transparent process – but it isn’t over yet.  By taking action on all of the items above, you can ensure that everything possible is being done to protect your homes and our community.  You will not only be fighting to protect the value and setting of your individual homes and properties.  You will be stepping up to protect the open space, view shed, history, and environment in and around Prince William County and our Rural Crescent – valued by all of us and others throughout this county, state, and nation.   Act Now!