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'I don't want to see power lines:' Opponents show up in force

Written by Dylan Segelbaum/The York Daily Record | Mar 14, 2018 10:59 AM
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About 50 members of Citizens to STOP Transource York County rode a bus from Fawn Township to Harrisburg to attend a pre-hearing conference about a proposed 16-mile above-ground power line. Public input hearings are scheduled for May 9 and May 15 in York County, at locations to be determined. (Photo: Dolores Krick)

(Undated) -- Not long after sunrise, they went up one-by-one to a table that had been set up at Maple Lawn Farms in southern York County. They signed in -- some grabbed T-shirts -- and boarded a bus that was bound for Harrisburg.

They were members of Citizens to STOP Transource York County, a group that's opposed to the construction of a proposed 16-mile above-ground power line. And, on Tuesday, about 50 people rode the bus to attend a pre-hearing conference before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Transource Energy is looking to build the power line, which would run from Norrisville, in Harford County, Maryland, to a new electric substation in Lower Chanceford Township. The company also wants to construct one from Shippensburg to Ringgold, in Washington County, Maryland. They're part of the Independence Energy Connection Project, a $320-million plan that's aimed at increasing capacity of the electrical grid, including in parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Representatives from the company have said they want to work with landowners.

Opponents say the power line would ruin and devalue the rural land -- some of which has been in families for generations -- while providing minimal benefit, if any, to people in York County. They also point to how there's existing infrastructure that's not being used.

"There was a time and a day for that -- and the time isn't now," said Debbie Macklin, 50, of Lower Chanceford Township, a third-generation farmer who recently purchased 110 acres and helped check people in for the bus. "I mean, energy's everywhere. Everybody has electricity. And it's just an unnecessary project."

The pre-hearing conference was held at the Commonwealth Keystone Building. It was technical and procedural. Public input hearings about the proposed power lines are scheduled for May 9 and 15 in York County, and May 22 and 23 in Franklin County, at locations to be determined.

Those who opposed the project filled most seats in the room, which held 192 people. They included members of Citizens to STOP Transource Franklin County. 

 

About 50 members of Citizens to Stop Transource York County took a bus on Tuesday from Fawn Township to Harrisburg to attend a pre-hearing conference at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission about a proposed power line. Staff

Not everyone who traveled on the bus owned land that might end with the towers.

Jennifer Pavey, 46, who lives in the New Park area of Fawn Township, said she built a new home 1 1/2 years ago.

But if the power line is built, there'd be electrical towers plopped throughout her view, Pavey said.

"I've lived here all my life. I love this area," she said. "I don't want to see power lines."

 

Toward the end, J. Ross McGinnis, an attorney whose family owns land that would be affected, went to the podium.

McGinnis said he's "never seen an outpouring like this" in his 65-year legal career. He urged the administrative law judges to set a timeline that would allow everyone to be able to speak about the issue.

"They need to be heard. They deserve to be heard. And they should be heard," McGinnis said. "And I appeal to you to give them an opportunity -- all of them -- an opportunity to be heard."

A handful of people in the audience started to clap.

"You can applaud, if you want," Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes said.

They broke into applause.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record

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