The following press release and email were sent out 1/24/18.
Dominion requests delay – Coalition agrees
Executive director says: “We hope good luck – and good faith – persist.”
Haymarket, Virginia (January 24, 2018) – A potentially decisive scenario has developed in Richmond that could spare Haymarket residents from having overhead transmission lines strung through their communities, if the need for the project is determined.
Coalition executive director Elena Schlossberg stated, “The Coalition and our allies have been pushing on two fronts: regulatory, and legislative. While recent Coalition legal activity has focused on our regulatory case before the State Corporation Commission (SCC), the possibility of a positive legislative resolution has become very real in the last few days. That’s why we’re paying attention to actions in the General Assembly and did not oppose a delay in part of the SCC process where we’re contesting the need for the project.”
Schlossberg continued, “The Coalition and allies have been present to advocate for community interests, challenge the need, and oppose an overhead line. In Richmond, local elected officials including Delegate Tim Hugo, Delegate Danica Roem, and Senator Chap Petersen have pushed legislation addressing numerous challenges, including the overhead line. Political leaders in Richmond are trying to package several legislative initiatives into a single bill versus taking a series of piecemeal votes. And Dominion Power has indicated a willingness to let the legislative process play out, referring in particular to Hugo’s proposals to underground the Haymarket line as part of an undergrounding pilot program as being ‘prudent.’ This is a welcome message.”
To possibly obtain a legislative resolution to the threat of overhead lines, the Coalition did not oppose a continuance in the regulatory process requested by Dominion and announced Tuesday by the SCC. This continuance pushes the evidentiary hearing back to April 30 – after the close of the legislative session.
“This is not disarmament, just a ceasefire,” Schlossberg added. “How long that ceasefire lasts will depend on whether we see legislation that ultimately serves the interests of our community. Personally, I have been surprised by a new willingness of many lawmakers to listen to our concerns. That said, we are in the early stages of the process, not anywhere near its conclusion. To use a sports metaphor – there’s a lot of game left to play.”
Schlossberg went on, “In the spirit of optimism and doing what is best for our communities in Prince William County, we hope for productive dialogue.”
“In the spirit of realism, we understand that legislative processes are unpredictable. And we remain prepared for that as well, while we get ready for our day in court.” Schlossberg concluded, “We urge residents to stay tuned, and we will do our best to keep you posted. With good faith by all parties, and good luck, we could be nearing the end of a very challenging few years for our community.”
PLEASE NOTE: NOTHING is resolved. There is no guarantee that proposed legislation will be passed mandating that the Haymarket transmission line be partially buried. And, the need is still in question. Our diligence and determination must continue!
The Fight Continues – Dominion Requests Delay
On January 19 Dominion submitted to the SCC a motion for extension of the Haymarket project proceedings, requesting a delay to the evidentiary hearing until after the completion of the General Assembly. In their motion, Dominion cited Delegate Tim Hugo’s bill, HB 1202, which if enacted, would establish a pilot program approving the underground construction of two transmission lines, one of which would be the Haymarket transmission line. The Coalition did not object to this request.
On January 23 the SCC Hearing Examiner ruled to delay the Haymarket project proceedings. The evidentiary hearing for the Haymarket case will now be held on April 30, 2018.
See the complete request and ruling: