John and Janie Ives recently traveled to Jefferson County to meet with landowners affected by the PATH project and share their horror story of the abuse they have suffered at the hands of TrAIL land agents.
While here, they spent some time talking with Journal reporter Naomi Smoot http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/534105.html?nav=5006weeblylink_new_window
Allegheny Power spokesman Mark Nitowski tries to hide behind his "Code of Conduct", but the Ives tell a different story of a string of different land agents who were not "factually accurate" or "respectful" and shared a letter they had just received from Trailco that could only be described as threatening. In addition, the Ives report how their neighbors were used by land agents in an attempt to obtain their land.
There's a lot we can learn from John and Janie's experience and we are extremely grateful to them for traveling a long way to come to Jefferson County.
As their recent plea to Governor Manchin stated, "Believe it when we say it's not something you would want your mother and father to have to go through."And what help did they receive from Governor Manchin after they poured their hearts out to him in a desperate plea for help? He sent them a letter saying that he had forwarded their letter to the WV Public Service Commission for follow up. That was nearly a month ago. The Ives have heard nothing from the PSC.Don't be so quick to brush people off, Governor. It always comes back around -- do unto others as you would have done unto you.
A motion was filed this week in the PATH case by Bill Howley, one of the pro se intervenors. Mr. Howley asks that the intervention period be re-opened for a period of 30 days so that affected property owners can become parties to the case. A great many property owners who will be severely impacted by the PATH project received their first notice courtesy of a PATH land agent knocking on their door asking that they sign survey forms and option agreements permitting a new easement across their property. These land agents only began their door-to-door campaign AFTER the deadline to intervene had passed and property owners had missed the opportunity to participate in the case before the PSC. Read Howley's motion here http://www.psc.state.wv.us/scripts/WebDocket/ViewDocument.cfm?CaseActivityID=292189&NotType='servicelist'&CaseServiceListID=25710
Yesterday, council for the applicants (PATH) filed a response to Mr. Howley's motion that insinuates that "property owners" who would have taken advantage of their right to participate in the case if they had only received timely notice do not exist and are merely a figment of Howley's imagination. Read the response here http://www.psc.state.wv.us/scripts/WebDocket/ViewDocument.cfm?CaseActivityID=292771&NotType='servicelist'&CaseServiceListID=25710
If you are a "figment", please let the PSC know that you want to become involved if the intervention period is re-opened.
How little regard PATH's attorneys have for the citizens of West Virginia! Properties that have been handed down for generations will be destroyed and lives will be forever altered by this project. Not only will these citizens be stripped of their property, but their rights as well and what they get in return is the insinuation that they are of so little value that they are nothing but a figment of someone's imagination!
Interesting article in Time magazine
about southern West Virginia towns ravaged by mountaintop removal mining. So much wealth to be had, but not by the residents!
To read more about what real West Virginians think about the death and destruction being rained down on them by out-of-state corporations making record profits, see:
West Virginia is not your sacrifice zone!Leveling Appalachia - The legacy of mountain top removal
Watch this almost two-year old interview of WV Consumer Advocate Byron Harris that came on the heels of his agreement with the "sweet deal" Governor Manchin engineered behind closed doors in order to win approval of the unneeded TrAIL power line project. Harris intimates that even an unneeded project can be approved if there is enough "balance" between economic and environmental considerations. Does this mean West Virginia is for sale to the highest bidder?
At 7:00 into the video, the interviewer renders Byron temporarily speechless with the question, "What part did the Governor's office play in this particular agreement?"
Isn't the Consumer Advocate supposed to be on the side of the consumers?
Harris has already asked the PATH players during discovery if they would agree to the same or similar concessions in order to get PATH approved.
Article in today's Journal about the passage of SB614 (PSC reform bill) http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/533338.html?nav=5006weeblylink_new_window
Now it's going to Gov. Joe Manchin for his signature. He can sign it, ignore it (and after 35 days it becomes law), or veto it.
You can help encourage Joe to SIGN THE BILL INTO LAW.
Please call 1-888-438-2731 and ask that he sign SB614. Or send an email to Governor@wvGov.org and ask him to sign it.
Let's keep it up, folks, we've done great so far!
Thanks to all for your help in making SB614 law.
The "Green Path North" 500 kV power line proposal that would have invaded protected desert wilderness areas and taken private property has been withdrawn due to fierce opposition and enormous costs.
Read the article in the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-power11-2010mar11,0,2321240.story
Also check out the fierce opposition's website here:
Congrats to to the stopgreenpath folks on their victory! See? It can be done, folks!
The Maryland PSC issued Order No. 9223 on March 10. They set a schedule for the limited purpose of considering preliminary legal issues only. They directed
“the parties to address whether the corporate structure set forth in the application satisfies PUC Article § 7-207(b)(3), and any other preliminary legal issues”
They set the schedule for briefs as follows:
Initial briefs shall be filed by April 9, 2010
Reply briefs shall be filed by April 29, 2010
Of other interest in the order, they stated:
"However, we decline the Company’s invitation to bifurcate the CPCN process into need and non-need proceedings. We will not consider the Company to have filed a complete Application until such time as it files the evidence on which it intends to rely to prove “the need for the project in meeting demands for service.”
PATH's December 21, 2009 second application to the Maryland PSC contained the "old" need arguments claiming that PATH would be needed by 2014. Updated analyses required in the Virginia case showed PATH to not be needed by 2014 and resulted in withdrawal of PATH's application in that state. PATH had asked the Maryland PSC to proceed with all aspects of the case except need, and to allow them to submit updated need information in June of 2010, a request to bifurcate (or split) the case into need and non-need issues. Why didn't they just wait until they had a complete application to submit?
Also in the December 21 application, PATH had re-structured corporate organization to give a 5% share of the newly created "PATH Allegeheny Maryland Transmission Co." to Potomac Edison, a Maryland electric company, so it could file the application under the name of Potomac Edison to meet Maryland's legal requirements for who can file an application. Apparently the Maryland PSC isn't buying that either and has decided to take up this issue.
On March 9, the House Judiciary Committee passed out SB614, which means the whole House will be voting on it some time this week. The committee made a couple of technical changes. I have been told the changes were in grammar, nothing substantive, but I haven't seen the changes myself.
Here's what comes next:
The bill will be read on the floor of the House three times. The first time is just reading it as is. The second time is when amendments can be offered; we need to tell delegates to MAKE NO CHANGES! The third time it's read they vote on it. It could be voted on as early as Thursday.
Because of the technical changes, it will have to go back to the Senate to be voted on. I DO NOT KNOW if it goes straight to the full Senate for a vote or if it has to be referred to a committee again. If it's the former, we have a good chance of getting it passed; if it's the latter, there may not be time for it to get out of committee and back to the full Senate for a vote.
Now we need to contact EVERY delegate to ask them to vote FOR the bill WITHOUT AMENDMENT. Here's what I'm going to write, you can copy it if you want. I'm putting the email address of all delegates at the end; copy and paste the list into the BCC field, so it goes to each delegate individually, please.
Please vote for SB614 AS IS - when it comes to the floor of the House this week! Please do not make any changes to the bill as it came from the Judiciary Committee.
This bill will require power companies in the future to provide written notification of their application to build high-voltage power lines to landowners within 1,100 feet on either side of the proposed line, at least 30 days before the Public Service Commission closes the intervenor filing period. It will give landowners time to decide if they wish to participate in the PSC process and protect their property rights. This is common courtesy.
The bill also would require the PSC to document in future how their decision on these applications benefits West Virginia and its citizens. This is common sense.
Thank you for protecting the rights of West Virginia landowners.
[Then sign your name and town]
Here's the email list (you may need to check the spacing between names):
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Harold@hardynet.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, ,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, ,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, Speaker.Thompson@verizon.net, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, DelegateStephens@comcast.net ~Patience Wait, Outreach Coordinator
With as much resistance as we have had trying to get a landowner notification bill through the legislature to require notice to citizens that their land may be subject to eminent domain seizure for transmission lines, it's ironic to know that legislation to allow major industrial users of electricity to negotiate with power companies for special rates passed the House 98-0 and is on its way to the Governor for final approval.
This legislation will allow companies to pay lower rates while they are struggling, offset by higher rates when times are good. What happens when a struggling company fails and never pays the offset? Are residential users going to have their rates raised to pay the difference?
Once again, the citizens get left holding the bag.