W.Va. PSC staff press for power line dismissal

AP News
Posted: Nov 11, 2009 1:43 PM

Staff lawyers for the state Public Service Commission continue to press for the dismissal of an application to build a multistate power line through West Virginia.

In a second filing with the PSC, attorney John Auville said the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, or PATH, application should be dismissed because of continued uncertainties. Auville also said PATH's recent proposal to delay a statutory decision deadline in West Virginia until January 2011 should be rejected.

The PSC has given all parties until next Tuesday to make their case on whether PATH's application should be dismissed.

Allegheny Energy and partner American Electric Power have proposed building the 275-mile line from AEP's coal-fired John Amos plant in Putnam County, across parts of northern Virginia, to a substation near Kemptown, Md.

Regulatory officials in Maryland have dismissed PATH's application, saying it wasn't filed by a utility company, as required by law. Although PATH lawyers said earlier this week they planned to refile the Maryland application by Dec. 31, Auville said the application in West Virginia should be dismissed because the line continues to have a starting point, but it's uncertain if it will have an end point.

Tuesday's filing was in response to PATH's response to Auville's original Oct. 28 dismissal request. PATH lawyers said the utilities were opposed to dismissing the application and offered to extend the decision deadline for 217 days, from next June 21 to Jan. 25, 2011.

Auville is asking for the extension to be for 247 days to give staff and others additional time to review any new filings on electrical demand and to respond.

At least 250 groups, representing landowners, The Sierra Club, local county commissions and boards of education are opposed to PATH's construction.