Sunday, September 14, 2008

Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH)

ACTION ALERT - Stand in the PATH of destruction

by: blonde moment

Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 12:05:33 PM EDT
The Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) project is getting closer to the Dec. 1 deadline to present two alternative routes to the WV Public Service Commission for bringing electricity to the New York/New Jersey area, right through the heart of the Eastern Panhandle.

PATH will not provide any electricity to West Virginia (or Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania). Think of it as an interstate highway running through the middle of your community, taking out homes and businesses, but without any entrance or exit ramps for you to use it.

And the cost of construction will be borne by customers in seven states - including the aforementioned West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Allegheny Power is slated to increase its rates 15 percent on January 1st.

Neighborhoods affected by PATH (such as my own) will see property values decrease by as much as 53 percent. That's not my number - that's from a National Association of Realtors report (

In late 1994, Arthur Gimmy, MAI, presented a seminar before the EMF Regulation and Litigation Institute11. In part, the seminar presented a matched-sales analysis of California residential property that indicated diminutions in lot values from properties abutting power line easements of 18% to a whopping 53.8%12.

This alone shows how it affects all West Virginians, not just those whose homes and communities are threatened - think what this will do to property tax revenues! Less money for schools, roads, public services, even if you live miles from the power lines.

There is serious disagreement about the need for PATH (visit!!). At least part of the reason our lovely state would be blighted by this project is because the intention is to build coal-fired electricity generation plants in West Virginia because the Northeastern states' pollution laws won't allow them to be built closer to the demand locations.

Half of the electricity generated will leak out of the lines before it gets to its destination!

And that leaking electricity is the source of electromagnetic fields that have been linked to major health problems, including cancer, particularly in children.

Since I last wrote about it ( (sorry, we don't have the fancy shortcut to embed links, and I'm better with concepts than techniques with regard to computers), there have been developments in terms of citizens rallying to fight back. Come with me below the fold...

blonde moment :: ACTION ALERT - Stand in the PATH of destruction
The West Virginia Sierra Club is taking the lead on the legal front, preparing to fight before the Public Service Commission and ultimately, if necessary, in court. Join the Sierra Club and donate - you can designate your contribution for the PATH fund.

There is a new citizens' advocacy group, West Virginia Citizens Against PATH, or WV CAP. Their website is It's still under construction, but there is an email contact (, and we can provide in-depth information and put you in touch with others in your area to join your voices together.

Morgan County has been fighting this for some time. The commissioners have already passed a resolution objecting to any part of PATH coming through their county, and there is an online petition at - visit the website, see their information, sign their petition.

WV CAP also is mounting a petition drive. I have a copy of the form and can send it to anyone who wants to print their own copies and gather signatures. We also are creating a non-profit organization, so folks can make donations to fund yard signs, banners, flyers, travel to protests and hearings, etc.

Write letters to the Public Service Commission! Allegheny Power will be presenting two alternative routes to the PSC no later than Dec. 1, and the commission needs to know that residents are outraged and dead set against any possible alternatives.

Write letters to the editor of your newspapers. Call your radio stations. Contact your TV crews - there are great visuals with this! (For instance, we took a reporter from NBC-25 out of Hagerstown to the power line in our subdivision, and demonstrated with a tape measure how adding a new line would literally wind up within 30 feet of one of our resident's front door. And the crackle of the line is incredibly ominous.)

Reach out to schools and parents - the negative impact on schools' budgets could be devastating.

Look for ways to leverage community activities. For instance, a neighbor and I are planning to go to our town's farm market on Sunday to collect signatures on our petition.

Look at the maps (which can be found at Identify communities that will be affected by proposed links, and reach out to them, make sure they are aware of the threat.

This is a hard fight. The odds are stacked against us - especially since the power companies will do everything they can to keep us fragmented. But we have to fight, and the more we can do together, the better our chances of success!

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