Western Dominion Power Lines Update
The script for the latest battle by powerful special interests in Virginia against those of us who live in Western Prince William County reads a lot like one of my favorite movies, the 1952 film, “High Noon,” starring Gary Cooper.
But in our own 21st century story, Dominion Power is the group we must face as they plan to build a 230kV transmission line and substation project just outside the western town limits of Haymarket to accommodate rapid growth in electrical demand, particularly in the commercial/high-tech sector.
This new substation, and the huge transmission lines required to disseminate the power to customers, is a new infrastructure project that is vastly different from existing power lines in our area. While few of us would object to the necessity for expanding power capacity in a high-growth area like western Prince William County, the majority of the proposed routing plans are a clear threat to the quality of life enjoyed by homeowners in our area.
In the very same way that the proposed Bi-County Parkway threatens our community, many of the proposed power line routes will permanently impact our historic areas, ruin viewscapes that are the hallmark of the natural beauty of our community, trample on the property rights of existing homeowners, and interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the homes in the impacted areas.
The Rural Crescent policy in Prince William County was designed to protect our farms and preserve the rural character of our protected areas from over-development. Unfortunately, that policy has left us vulnerable to road planners and public utility designers because the costs of land acquisition are significantly reduced in less densely populated areas.
These powerful special interests pick their fights carefully, and they think that because there are fewer people in our area, that will mean there will be less of a fight.
But they are wrong!
The citizens of the Gainesville District have proven to be a potent opponent when the value of our communities and our basic quality of life is threatened.
None of us opposes a rational plan for the installation of new needed infrastructure, particularly when it provides significant benefits for our community. In this case, however, the need for a new 230 kV transmission line is driven largely by a proposal for a new data center just outside of Haymarket.
As a public policy, I strongly support the expansion of commercial properties in Prince William County as a critical tool in balancing the tax burden more equitably between the residential tax base and commercial tax base. But the Dominion Power proposal clearly goes over the line, by a significant margin, of what is rational and supportable.
Over the past several months, I have repeatedly spoken out against all routes, except the “Hybrid Option” that partially buries the lines along I-66. That option will reduce the negative impacts on our community and will require Dominion to shoulder some of the costs, not Prince William County. You can view all the routes on my website at www.supervisorcandland.com.
Several weeks ago at Delegate Bob Marshall’s town hall meeting, we sent a loud message to Dominion Power. With nearly 1,000 people in attendance, we made it clear that we will not sit idly by and watch our community be used as a dumping ground for huge above ground power lines. We will not permit the Gainesville District to become the junk corridor for every road or high-capacity power line that special interests want to build.
I have worked closely with other local elected officials and our State Delegation to ask for their help in pressuring Dominion Power to select the Hybrid Option for recommendation to the SCC and to abandon even the consideration of any of the other options.
But we need your help to convince Dominion.
Please take a few minutes to add your name, along with mine, to the official letter from the Gainesville District that I intend to send to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to express our strong opposition to any of the routing plans other than the “Hybrid Option.” You can add your name to that letter at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/stopthepowerlines.
If Dominion Power wants to persist in its efforts to convince the SCC to adopt any routing plan that is cheaper for them, but outrageously expensive for us, then we will be prepared to fight just as hard as we have against the overreach by powerful special interests on the Bi-County Parkway.
You have my firm commitment that I will continue to fight to protect Western Prince William County against Dominion’s destructive power line routes. For more information, please visit www.supervisorcandland.com.