Executive director says: “Prince William residents deserve better than a ‘best guess’ from Dominion’s regulator.”

Haymarket, Virginia (December 9, 2016) – The Coalition to Protect Prince William County responded via legal counsel to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) Hearing Examiner’s report in the Haymarket transmission line case, rejecting his Carver Road Overhead route recommendation and highlighting numerous other errors.

Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “The Coalition’s legal counsel hammered the case we have made now for years: Dominion’s so-called need is for a single customer, by their own admission – Amazon. If Dominion must build a transmission line for Amazon, the only acceptable route is the partially-buried I-66 Hybrid; and like any other customer, Amazon should pay for both their own power and their private extension cord.

“Coalition counsel reminded the Hearing Examiner of basic facts that he either failed to consider, or chose to ignore. Our regional electricity authority, PJM, classifies the Haymarket project as a ‘Supplemental Project’ – indicating it is not needed for overall grid reliability,” Schlossberg continued. “Local elected officials, communities, businesses, and state agencies all support the Hybrid route. And numerous parties, including the SCC’s own staff, argue that Virginia statute and Dominion’s own admissions support only one conclusion: as the sole beneficiary of the project, Amazon should bear the cost of routing the transmission line in a way that minimizes harm.”

Schlossberg added, “Coalition counsel also criticized the Hearing Examiner’s decision process in the starkest terms. The Hearing Examiner admitted to using a “simple process of elimination” after determining that the other routes were either too expensive or too burdensome to residents – despite failing to address any burden to residents on the Carver Road Overhead alternative. Coalition counsel observed that transmission planning by process of elimination – ‘like an uncertain student guessing among answers on a multiple choice test’ – is not an acceptable way to choose the route of a high-voltage power line. The citizens of Prince William County deserve better than the Examiner’s ‘best guess’ on this matter.”

Schlossberg concluded, “The Coalition has been stating all along that no final decision has been made.  Now the SCC Commissioners must make their choice. It is clear, as the Examiner himself found, that the I-66 Overhead route is not viable. The Commissioners must accept the will of County citizens and legislators, and as the SCC staff suggests, use ‘their broad statutory authority’ to reject the Hearing Examiner’s loose logic and instead support the I-66 Hybrid route, with undergrounding paid for by Amazon.  From the very beginning, this three year process has been corrupt and sloppy.  The only route that has been fully explored, supported, and is now before the Commissioners to choose is the I-66 Hybrid alternative.  If necessary, with strong support from the community, the Coalition will make our case to the Virginia Supreme Court.”

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