Jay Ruberto lived up to his landowner-given nickname of Snidely Whiplash by stating that he was "very proud" of the job TrAILCo did. He's "very proud" of the way he treated John & Janie Ives, whose lives were turned upside down by TrAILCo's shifty land agents and the deceitful way they were treated? In that case, I hope some greedy corporation treats his own parents in kind. Karma is a cruel task master.
When asked what lesson the company had learned from TrAILCo, he said it was to keep the same land agents as a point of contact for landowners throughout the project. Problems arose because landowners didn't hear land agents correctly and none of the land agent promises were in writing. "It has to be in writing," said Ruberto. Take a lesson, landowners -- TrAILCo has admitted how it was that they fleeced people. A series of different land agents making promises that are never put into writing on the purchase agreement isn't a mistake. It's done on purpose. It's no coincidence that a land agent in a Canadian transmission case got busted for doing exactly what was done to landowners during the TrAILCo project. A series of shifty land agents lying to landowners is an industry-wide transmission siting "Best Practice." I guess TrAILCo hasn't really learned any lesson at all... yet. Perhaps the WV PSC will stand up for West Virginians and teach the out-of-state TrAILCo corporation that they can't treat people that way.
TrAILCo also produced a trio of goofy kids from construction contractors and subcontractors who looked guilty as hell while testifying that all the destruction was caused by loggers hired by individual landowners, and the individual landowners themselves. Next time, TrAILCo needs to hire some mature managers that look like they actually have some experience and not a bunch of kids who look nervous and guilty and treat the whole thing like a big, ol' funny joke.
TrAILCo's expert witness was a botanist, not a forester, who shared that his contract with TrAILCo to evaluate the destruction in the ROW came after the March hearings and was subject to conflict between himself and TrAILCo. I wonder what was in that contract? He also testified that all the damage was done by landowner-hired loggers, but admitted that all his knowledge of these phantom destructive loggers came from TrAILCo (the guilty, smirking kids). It's no wonder Commissioner Palmer demanded that TrAILCo submit a document stating their proof of independent loggers causing destruction at each contested site along the ROW.
The complainants entered a stack of DEP violation notices of individual incidences of environmental destruction for the TrAILCo project.
We gave TrAILCo's drama-queen, jack-in-the-box lawyer a new name after watching him pop out of his seat like it was spring-loaded with annoying regularity to object to everything and anything. Me-me-me-me-me-lick (because it's all about "me") actually whined that TrAILCo's previously supplied map indicating which portions of the ROW were cleared by TrAILCo vs. which portions were cleared by landowners might not be correct because it was "only concerned with the 8 original sites identified in the complaint." So, did TrAILCo lie when they submitted it, or are they lying now?
The Commission gave TrAILCo 30 days to submit their "proof" that all the instances of destruction in the ROW were caused by these mysterious "others." The complainants will then have another 20 days to submit their rebuttal (which me-me-me-me-me-lick objected to and lost). Then the Commission will issue its decision in the case.
Meanwhile, TrAILCo had best get busy repairing all the damage they did to private property while they built their transmission line and quit whining about how much it's going to cost. Maybe if they hadn't offered all those bribes, like the new "transmission headquarters" and donations to energy assistance programs, in order to get their project approved by the PSC in the first place, they wouldn't be so hideously over budget now. What do they care anyhow? The ratepayers are footing the bill for all of it, and TrAILCo makes a pile of profit in yearly returns on the money they have invested in the project. As a ratepayer, I'd much rather see my money being spent to return the private land to its former state, instead of leaving a trail of destruction and angry landowners as a legacy. But then again, I must have a different definition of "proud" than the shysters at TrAILCo.