Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell said he was pleased with the U.S. Department of Energy's decision to rehear the case against its decision to designate 52 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties as part of the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor.
"The federal government has heard our voices of displeasure and granted additional time to reconsider this decision, which we believe to be ill-conceived," said Governor Rendell. "I hope Secretary Bodman uses this time to thoroughly consider our arguments and evaluate the considerable evidence that shows this designation does a great disservice to the people of Pennsylvania without sufficient benefits.
"Ultimately, we're committed to continuing the fight against this designation. Our people should not have to accept that these transmission lines will be on our soil, depreciate our property values, but may not benefit our consumers. And we will not standby and watch while our efforts to build a new, clean energy economy are undermined by electricity shipped across our state from dirtier fossil-fuel-fired plants to the south and west of us."
On Nov. 11, the Department of Environmental Protection -- at the Governor's direction -- filed an application requesting a rehearing of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oct. 5 order designating the Mid-Atlantic Area National Corridor.
The state cited the following reasons for its request:
- The Federal Powers Act requires that any corridor be narrowly drawn and limited only to those areas that are experiencing electric energy transmission constraints or congestion. In many parts of the 52 Pennsylvania counties affected, that is not the case. The Department of Energy, or DOE, failed to consider any alternatives prior to designating the corridor.
- DOE never prepared an environmental impact statement prior to making its decision as required in the National Environmental Policy Act. The federal government neglected to consult with the commonwealth in a timely fashion while studying transmission congestion, and failed to consider the state's comments.
- The DOE abused its discretion in choosing to designate the corridor.
Governor Rendell previously had filed comments in opposition to the plan on July 6. That filing granted Pennsylvania "party status" in the case, allowing the application for reconsideration.