Yes, it's true, PATH did not even bother showing up for the hearing last night. Not even one representative. I guess they took my last blog post to heart and didn't bother to show up since they were ill-prepared and uninformed. Or maybe they thought we might hurt their itty-bitty feelings *sniff, sniff, tear* and couldn't bear it. However, true to every paranoid's fantasy, the hearing went on without them while they were ridiculed, laughed at and vilified. In fact, without PATH there to obfuscate and try to defend themselves, the hearing ran very smoothly and was concluded in record time -- we were out of there before 10:30!
The meeting began with the Commission's staff attempting to present PATH's case, since they weren't present to do it. This necessitated quite a lot of unanswered questions, speculation and assumption on the part of the staff. The staff relayed that PATH was not "required" to be present, but notice was given to them regarding this hearing at the previous substation hearing.
The large crowd of "public" waiting to give comment once again filled the room at Winchester Hall and here are a few highlights:
Esther Brinkmann asked the commission to "judge the credibility" of the applicants and asked why anyone should "trust the integrity of the applicants". Esther provided testimony regarding EPA-enforced TMDL allowances from run-off and shared that under previous questioning PATH had claimed to be "unaware" of any standards and did not have a plan to mitigate PATH's construction contributing to the problem. If TMDL allowances are not in compliance, Frederick County faces fines from the EPA. PATH just doesn't care!
Dick Ishler of CAKES came to the podium with the best prop I've seen in a while -- a gigantic, mounted, poster-sized image of the proposed new line feeding from the substation. Dick testified that a total of eight lines would eventually emanate from the substation, laying a dangerous spiderweb over the heads of nearby residents. Dick pointed out that PATH has continually denied there will be any future expansion at the death site, despite plans showing bays for future expansion and the appearance of the first new line in PJM's TEAC. PATH lies and its construction would be "unconscionable".
There were several comments from impacted small farms and agricultural business owners, as well as more than a handful of comments from directly affected property owners, some of whom became quite emotional. One commenter talked about PATH's "fear campaign" PR efforts and PJM's "playing the game" while their credibility is shredded.
StopPATHWV's Patience Wait testified that PATH's application to the PSC provides for a 1200 ft. wide "preferred corridor" within which PATH can move the location of the line around without further approvals, significantly enlarging the "construction zone".
I provided testimony about this and this regarding PATH's repeated claims in Frederick County that PJM "ordered" them to build PATH in an exact location. The commissioners were so flabbergasted at the lies (and that's exactly what I called them since I don't mince words and PATH wasn't there to defend themselves) that they insisted I continue, even after my four minutes were up.
Watch the meeting on video here. Click on Planning Commission and it should be the first one on the list. You can either watch the meeting on video or listen to the audio.
Stick a fork in PATH, they're done in Frederick County.