Casey energizing opposition to transmission line plan

PENNSYLVANIA - U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr. is asking his constituents to speak for themselves.

Casey, D-Scranton, is asking Pennsylvanians to sign his online petition to oppose a federal plan that limits local control of where major electric transmission lines will be built. Casey has expressed his opposition to the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor to the U.S. Department of Energy through public complaints, letters and a legislative amendment.

The plan approved last year designates areas, including 50 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, in which companies seeking to build transmission lines could appeal to federal regulators to use eminent domain if approval is denied at the state level.

"I want the Department of Energy to hear directly from people in our state who will be affected by this," Casey said. "I didn't expect them to have 52 hearings, but I expected them to at least have hearings in every region."

Although the petition carries no legal weight, Casey feels the public had little chance to comment on the plan prior to approval and the government hasn't done an adequate job of informing people and ensuring that it investigated all other options.

"One thing that has always disturbed me is when government becomes arrogant," he said. "One way that government demonstrates a disturbing amount of arrogance is when they don't involve enough public input, and I think this is one of those situations."

DOE and the industry have argued that the lines translate to increased reliability throughout the grid, which will benefit everyone, specifically in light of the crippling blackout in the Northeast in 2003, which began when a single line sagged into a tree limb in Ohio.


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