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Commission to support Jefferson County residents in PATH protest

October 17, 2008

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Concerned about the potential effects on residents of a proposed new high-voltage power line that could cross through Jefferson County, the county commission on Thursday decided to take action.

The commissioners voted to intervene through the state Public Service Commission, which regulates utility companies and would review the proposal if Allegheny Energy officials move forward with the project.

By intervening, the commission would express citizens' concerns that have been raised about the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), according to Commissioner Dale Manuel.

The commissioners have heard concerns from the public about how proposed line routes could affect subdivisions like Leisure Acres and Colonial Hills near Shepherdstown, W.Va. The line could mean the loss of properties in 16 subdivisions in the county, the commissioners previously said.

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The commissioners and other officials in the county said the line could endanger properties on the National Register of Historic Places and trespass on properties protected by federally funded farmland protection programs. One of the routes for the line would pass over a site off Job Corps Road that is slated for a new $10 million elementary school by 2010.

Manuel said during the commissioners regular meeting Thursday that there are other possible PATH routes that would not have an effect on Jefferson County.

The Berkeley County Commission already has intervened in the case before the PSC, county officials said.

Allegheny Energy spokesman Allen Staggers previously said that company officials realize people have concerns about PATH, but he emphasized that no decision has been made on a path for the line.

Staggers said Allegheny Energy plans to submit a proposal for the project to the PSC possibly in December and that plan will have a proposed route.

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