It's another PATHetic pity party starring poor, persecuted PATH, and winds up with a rather long-winded legal argument citing a bunch of precedent. I'm not going to get into that aspect of it. I'm not a lawyer and I refuse to waste my time looking up all those cases. The Maryland opposition groups have lawyers for just that purpose. You should consider slipping them a donation to help with their legal costs. Visit CAKES or Sugarloaf Conservancy to show your support!
Regarding the pity party though, I simply can't resist having some fun at PATH's expense. Here are a few quotes starring MISINFORMATION that I know you'll enjoy:
- The Substation is permitted as a special exception in an A zoning district and is part of a larger project to be constructed in Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia that will ultimately improve the reliability of the electric transmission grid in Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region.
- ...opponents, including nearby residents, environmental groups, and activists from Maryland and out of state, offered subjective,
emotional, and anecdotal arguments against the Substation and the motives of the Petitioner, and generally in support of a NIMBY position. "NIMBY" refers to "Not In My Back Yard," a common position taken by certain opponents whereby the opponents do not necessarily protest the specific proposal but, rather, protest the location of the specific proposal as being too close to their own property.
- When authorized by the Maryland Public Service Commission, Petitioner will construct, operate, and maintain PATH in Maryland.
- Petitioner is pursuing this judicial review because PATH cannot be built without the Substation.
- Petitioner agreed to proceed in good faith with the County's special exception process under a reservation of its rights to assert the pre-emption argument at any time.
- Prior to the first night of the special exception hearing, well-organized and extremely
vocal opposition to, and misinformation about, PATH, including the Substation, spread in the
news media, on the internet, and at political town hall meetings and debates. Also prior to the first night's testimony, the Board visited the Property and walked the Site. In the wake of
resident outrage fueled by misinformation, and in light of at least one Board member's history of actively opposing projects (see the letter in the Record dated December 8, 2010 from Mr.
Cannon to the Board), this visit appears to have been a premature death knell for Petitioner's application.
- Mr. Reed also testified that the Substation will not have any material adverse impact on
area roadways. (TR 16-17, Oct. 14, 2010). The Substation will be unmanned, and will require
four to five regular maintenance visits each month. Mr. Reed testified that these visits would not generate high volumes of either local or regional motor vehicle traffic along the existing roadway infrastructure.
- Petitioner also offered the expert testimony of a highly respected and well-credentialed
real estate appraiser and consultant, Mr. Jay Goldman. Mr. Goldman was very familiar with the Property and the surrounding areas and testified he had driven through the communities, flown over them in a helicopter, studied land records and historical sales, and visited the County's land records office. (TR 438-39, Nov. 13, 2010). With this personal knowledge of the Property and proposed Substation, Mr. Goldman compared the Site to the Quarry Creek development in Charlestown, West Virginia. (TR 440-43, Nov. 13, 2010). Mr. Goldman stated that the Quarry
Creek development is the most expensive in the area, with the value of most of the 60 to 65 houses exceeding $1 million, and three houses exceeding $5 million. Mr. Goldman testified
that a large rock quarry and an electrical substation are located at the development's entrance. Moreover, the development is adjacent to the main line of CSX Railroad, (which transports high volumes of coal and chemicals), is intersected by power lines, and backs up to the Charleston landfill. Mr. Goldman also indicated that the development contains a water tower, a cemetery, and at least one gas well. Mr. Goldman testified that despite these perceived negative influences, the property values for the homes in the development remained quite high.
- Of the countless protestants, including representatives of three groups, testifying in
opposition to the Substation, not a single one was: a civil engineer who had conducted a wetland study; an environmental engineer who had conducted an environmental impact review; an historical expert who had conducted a historical impact analysis; an EMF specialist; or an epidemiologist who had examined available health impact studies.
- While the heated emotions and fears of the protestants were palpable and readily appreciated, the opposition's testimony was anecdotal and based on blogs, random anti-substation websites, and highly questionable "reports."
- Petitioner refers to the opposition as "protestants" or "opponents" and not "residents" given that a number of those
testifying in opposition to the Substation do not live in the neighborhood closest to the Property, much less Frederick County or even the State of Maryland (e.g., Patience Wait of West Virginia).
Very entertaining, PATH! Now quit spreading MISINFORMATION to the Circuit Court for Frederick County and go away. It's over, you lost.