Before I get into all that, I'd like to congratulate all the individual Maryland intervenors and groups for the honest, heartfelt and eloquent way they presented themselves at the hearing yesterday. What they presented was a breath of fresh air into a stuffy room overflowing with a combination of noisome prevarication and profound stupidity on the part of PATH, their agents and certain staff members. It's one of those "you had to be there" moments, but it took immense control not to fall asleep or laugh hysterically at certain moments. After sitting through that, I'm starting to develop new appreciation for my own WV-PSC. At least our staff attorney can carry on an intelligent conversation ;-)
Intervenor Terri Armand had a comment that certainly resonated with me, and probably with the rest of you as well. This may not be exact (since the comment itself sent me scrambling for my notebook and I may have lost something), but here's the gist of it: "The individuals sitting at the front of the room argue PATH for a living. The rest of us in the audience are living for arguing PATH." While PATH and its minions have unlimited time and money (our money) to drag out this battle, the citizens still in the game have had their lives overtaken by this greedy, inhumane endeavor. Many of them are working 2 full-time jobs -- their regular job and their work on the PATH case. All their spare time and money are poured into the fight. PATH may think they are exhausting us, however the citizens still involved at this point are no fair-weather friends. The commitment by this group will not be broken -- PATH's stuck with us now like pet hair on a dark suit. While they can come and go from the fight, we're there every minute of every day and we're not giving up until we receive justice.
I don't think I'll get into some of my other notes, since words and phrases like, "this guy just ain't right!", "moron", and "Maryland's version of Tweedledum and Tweedledumbest" jump off the page today, and that just wouldn't be nice, now would it?
Now, back to the ruling.
1. The Motion of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce to Intervene Out-Of-Time was granted.
This despite at least three citizen objections and evidence passed to the hearing examiner. But, that's okay... it's going to be much more fun this way :-) PATH's (and their smarmy lobbyist's) arrogance will always lead them to take a firm position on unstable ground, no matter how shaky their position really is, or how much worse it's going to hurt later, isn't that right? PATH will never do the intelligent thing and realize that they're better off cutting their losses.
2. All Motions to dismiss the case with prejudice and without prejudice were denied.
Oh yes, the PSC is always thinking about the convenience of the citizens! Thanks!
3. The Petition of Staff regarding the justification for the proposed Path transmission line was denied.
PATH needs to find themselves a smarter patsy. Eeesh!
4. The Motion to suspend the Procedural Schedule was granted, with the applicants proffer that the one year FERC backstop timeframe will not begin to run until Supplemental Testimony is filed by the Applicant.
Someone needs to buy the MD-PSC a clue... the NIETCs were vacated by a decision of the 9th circuit on Feb. 2, and out along with them went FERC backstop authority. Oops! But, on the bright side, that's one promise PATH won't have any trouble keeping.
And while we're on the subject of stupid, check out PATH's response to open motions dated Feb. 22 (2 days before the hearing). Although there's lots of fun fodder in here, my favorite is footnote 23, bottom of page 8, where PATH states, "...this case involves a proposed substation integral to a transmission line and not intended to interconnect with any distribution level facilities in Frederick County". So, PATH, are you finally admitting that Frederick County is getting none of the electricity from the PATH project, since it won't interconnect with any distribution level facilities in Frederick County? It isn't going to light up the impacted homes surrounding the substation after all, is it, unless you were expecting stray voltage issues? Doesn't a little honesty make everyone feel better?