By Terri L. Erwin-Fitz – Observer Staff

The State Corporation Commission is holding hearings on the proposed Dominion (Virginia Power) Haymarket Substation and 230kV project. The first hearing was held on Feb. 24 at Battlefield High School.  Residents were given the opportunity (to) testify in front of the hearing examiner on the project and how it will impact them.

Elena Schlossberg, executive director of the Coalition to Protect Prince William County, said she was “really impressed with the level and passion and knowledge” conveyed by the residents who testified at the hearing.

Overwhelmingly, she heard from people who testified that the community will only support the project along I-66 and partially buried. She also said that she felt residents conveyed the message that Amazon should pay for the project.

Karen Sheehan, who lives in and represents Rose Hill Estates community, said that she was “very pleased” to hear 99 percent of those testifying giving the same message with Dominion Power and Amazon listening. Over and over speakers repeated reasons for the I-66 hybrid option as the only acceptable option.

She was also happy to hear many “folks” give reasons for Amazon to locate at the Haymarket site and move its location to Innovation Park where there is the infrastructure for a data center.

Sheehan said that she liked seeing hearing examiner Glenn Richardson take notes. Sheehan said that 84 people testified throughout the first hearing with 200-300 attending the meeting that lasted until 10:30 p.m.  She called it “amazing.”

Since the weather was bad with storms in the area, she said many people whispered to her that with the bad lightning and high winds they had to leave to “get things tied down” before their names were called to testify. She added that, since the meeting went so late, some had to leave to put children to bed.

Overall, she said of the many names called for testimony, there were only about 12-15 names called who did not appear.

She is hoping that these people will come back to one of the other hearings to have their voices heard.

She added that it was great to see people of all neighborhoods come together with the same message.

The next hearing was scheduled after this edition went to press – on March 14 at 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. The final hearing in Haymarket is set for May 2 at 7 p.m., all at Battlefield High School at 15000 Graduation in Haymarket.