The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, simply known as PATH, is a proposed 276-mile, 765-kilovolt electric power transmission line designed to supply power from the Amos Substation located in Putnam County in West Virginia to a proposed electrical substation to be constructed in Maryland's Frederick County.
If approved, the transmission line will be owned and operated by subsidiary companies of Allegheny Energy and the American Electric Power Company. The route as currently proposed would go through 13 counties in West Virginia, three counties in Virginia and Frederick County in Maryland. The endpoint in Maryland would be a proposed electrical substation in Kemptown, Md., that would be in a residential area surrounded by about 1,300 houses.
Tower heights will average 180 feet. Right-of-ways for the towers will be 200 feet wide. This is the most recent development on the PATH project in West Virginia:
AEP and Allegheny Energy have told the West Virginia Public Service Commission they are willing to move the decision date on the PATH project from its 2010 deadline to Jan. 25, 2011, a delay of 217 days.
AEP and Allegheny Energy want to construct a high transmission power line from the John Amos Power Plant in Putnam County into the eastern panhandle, ending in Kemptown, Md.
An attorney with the West Virginia PSC called on the commission to dismiss the project because the Maryland Public Service Commission did the same earlier this year over an application issues. The attorney stated that West Virginia could not rule on the project if where it would end still remains undetermined.
PATH attorneys called the PSC attorney's request for dismissal "speculative and illogical." They said the companies will refile in Maryland and Kemptown will remain the end of the line.
The PATH attorneys maintain the project is badly needed and putting off a final decision 217 days would make "the need for PATH even more urgent."
AEP and Allegheny Energy want to set the new date for Sept. 13, 2010.
The current purposed PATH route would run through or subdivisions, farms, parks, businesses, schools and historic sites.
There is much opposition to the PATH project because residents on the proposed route fear loss of property and have valid health fears. Properties that are in the route will be purchased by PATH and either demolished or resold.
Here is a list of effects many fear PATH will bring to their doorstep. This list and more information can be obtained at www.stoppath.org
- Clear-cutting of new or expanded rights-of-way and use of herbicides to retard growth of vegetation. Herbicides could affect water quality in streams and wells forever.
- New or increased electro-magnetic fields from the transmission lines and their possible effect on the health and well-being of people living in close proximity
- Loss of wildlife habitat.
- Loss of prime farmland, soil erosion, stream sedimentation, lost recreational value of undeveloped land and aesthetic impacts and loss of scenic values forever.
Effects on property values:
- Homes along proposed routes could be in jeopardy of being bought by PATH, whether voluntarily or through eminent domain.
- Subdivisions will be dissected by PATH, wiping out portions of the community and lowering property values for homes left in these decimated subdivisions.
- Electric transmission lines on, adjacent to, or visible from properties can decrease their value up to 53 percent.
- Loss of use of private property for those properties requiring new or expanded easements.
- Noise and disturbance during construction of PATH.
- Electrical interference with appliances near the line.