We got through another two PATH witnesses last night, the civil engineer and Allegheny's engineer Mike Gogol, who was produced to answer some of the questions that the engineer could not (or would not). He wasn't much of an improvement though in shedding light on the truth.
Here are some of the incredulous statements PATH's witnesses testified to (and remember, they were under oath!):
1. Security was not considered when screening for the substation was planned, only aesthetics.
2. The substation will be "consistent" with the surrounding neighborhood not because the white metal buildings and shiny equipment are similar to the 1300 homes surrounding the site, but because they are "similar" to the two existing transmission lines either traversing the site or in close proximity. Talk about bending the truth to suit your own purposes, this statement is preposterous.
3. The "re-forested area" that will replace the 7 acres of mature growth forest leveled for the substation and the planting of new vegetation around streams on the site will "enhance" the site. Imagine that! PATH can improve on the work of God and make it better!
4. Sites in Montgomery County were rejected because they were near residential areas. The Mt. Airy site is surrounded by over 1300 homes and the logic of this statement escapes me.
5. PATH-MD will eventually own the substation site, although "Potomac Edison" will operate it. Oh, sure they will, *wink, wink*. Potomac Edison's 5% share in PATH-MD and involvement in the project is going to disappear quicker than a keg of beer turns into a line for the bathroom once they have their approvals.
6. PATH's counsel stated that there would be no future expansion at the substation. This flies in the face of the planned expansion bays and the statements of Kerry Stroup of PJM at PATH's Charlie Foxtrot Public Meeting and PJM's June 9, 2010 TEAC that shows this new line beginning at the substation.
7. PJM ordered PATH to connect to the two existing 500kV lines in proximity to the selected site and this is the only site where it can be accomplished. Yeah, we've heard about how big bully PJM orders the poor, defenseless PATH companies around time and again, but it's all one great big lie! Allegheny Energy and AEP actually proposed the two separate projects that were combined to create PATH to PJM first. In fact, Allegheny Energy even suggested that PJM use its RTEP process as "a vehicle" for advancing their new transmission project, which was intended to further the aims of Project Mountaineer, which are to transport an additional 5,000 MW of coal-fired electricity to the east coast from the Ohio Valley. This game of which came first, the chicken or the egg, has already been played out. The chicken (PATH) came well before the egg (PJM's "need") and is fully documented. PATH needs to quit lying before nobody believes a word they say any longer. Ooops! Too late already!
Other amusing items:
PATH needs to buy their counsel a dictionary. He claimed to not know what the word "occluded" means. Is he really this dumb, or was he just playing an idiot last night?
At the beginning of Gogol's testimony he began to talk about how electricity is like water flowing through a pipe. No sooner were the words "he's going to start talking about the buckets again" out of my mouth before he uttered the word "bucket" and the back corner of the room erupted in laughter. The only thing being carried in a bucket at the substation is the manure they continue to produce as sworn testimony in Frederick County.
And speaking of laughter, PATH was loudly laughed at several times last night by the huge crowd in attendance. Even the chairwoman of the Board got into the act and asked them if they were joking when the witness asked to have the question repeated after a painful 10 minute discussion and precise determination of exactly what the question was.
And that wasn't the only instance of applicant subterfuge as most of the questions posed to them were answered with "I am not the proper witness for that question" or "I don't know". If they are that ill-prepared and uninformed, why bother even showing up?
The only thing that keeps this from being completely annoying is the obvious frustration PATH has with the glacial pace at which this hearing is proceeding. At this pace, it could well extend into the new year. Perhaps if they stopped playing games and told the truth their misery would be over much quicker, but I won't hold my breath for that to happen.