AEP trots out the predictable, tired, 16-year odyssey of their badly planned Jacksons Ferry - Wyoming Project as an example of the "broken" transmission siting process. There was nothing wrong with the siting process, the project's problems stemmed from AEP's poor planning, as Bill has aptly demonstrated.
But, here's the biggest lie:
"The delays experienced with the Wyoming-Jacksons Ferry line were so pronounced that AEP has since avoided crossing federal lands in siting projects."
Well, except for their PATH Project, which came AFTER Jacksons Ferry-Wyoming. AEP didn't seem to have a problem siting that thing through a national forest and three national park units, did they? They didn't even seem to have a problem with PATH's federal EIS process, until the NPS denied their request for indefinite abeyance of the process and tossed out PATH's application. Now the federal permitting process is broken and AEP can re-write history.
AEP also presents a few nifty timelines showing how a proper transmission planning, permitting, siting and construction process should work. It's pretty hard not to notice that right of entry onto private property for surveying purposes only begins AFTER the project receives state approval. Remember all the trespassing and landowner harassment by PATH contractors doing "surveys" before they'd received a permit? And check it out... initial contacts with identified landowners to negotiate rights-of-way and purchase begins at least six months AFTER the project receives state approval! What the heck is PATH doing with millions of dollars of unneeded property and purchase options on their hands right now, after they voluntarily withdrew from the state approval process, and while their project dangles from the cliff of abandonment? Seems to me if they'd waited to purchase needed property until AFTER receiving state approvals, as their own ideal plan dictates, us ratepayers could have saved well over a hundred million dollars in imprudent land purchases and options (plus 12.4% interest compounded yearly for 4 years) upon which PATH seems to have jumped the gun. In 2011, PATH tossed away over $2.5M of YOUR money on forfeited purchase options that they removed from CWIP and expensed (but that's another topic - come back tomorrow to see how PATH wasted your money in 2011, I'm still crunching the numbers.)
AEP's project timeline is one for the scrapbooks...