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Utility Corridors Threaten Extraordinary Public Land

February 2008 | Delaware, Pennsylvania

In October 2007, the US Department of Energy designated more than 116,000 square miles in upstate New York through Ohio in another corridor. The Corridor encompasses all of Delaware and 52 counties in Pennsylvania. See a map of the threatened corridor in the Mid-Atlantic (PDF, 2MB).

Using the ‘National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor’ designation allows utilities federal condemnation authority to site transmission lines, is exempt from environmental review, and preempts traditional state regulation of transmission lines and local land use laws.

Read more about the background of the issue

Find out who to contact for more information


2/12/09 Update:

Utility Infrastructure Advocacy Coalition and Obama Administration Energy and Environmental Advisors

Presented by Sherri Evans-Stanton Director, Environmental Management Center Brandywine Conservancy

 5/16/08 Update:

 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee plans to hold an oversight hearing on the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of the transmission corridor program, which permits the federal government to overrule state concerns in siting transmission lines. The hearings were prompted by a bipartisan coalition of 14 senators who say DOE has exceeded its authority in establishing high-priority transmission areas and has infringed on state rights.

DOE received widespread criticism after issuing a final rule last October that designated large swaths of land in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest as corridors, cases our conservation defense team have been following closely. More

How you can help

 

 Articles by Nancy McLauglin:

  • Condemning Open Space: Making Way for National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (or Not), (PDF, 130KB)
  • Condemning Conservation Easements: Protecting the Public Interest and Investment in Conservation, (PDF, 330KB)

March Updates

3/24/08 Article:

  • Los Angeles Times, 'Corridors' of power are finding resistance

3/19/08 Update:

Senator Casey (PA) has launched a nationwide petition on his website against the Department of Energy’s implementation of the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designation. NIETC designation affects all or portions of 8 states in the Mid-Atlantic and 2 in the Southwest, and is quickly becoming a national program. The petition is not specific to Pennsylvania. If you are from PA, please send Senator Casey a thank you for being a leader on this important issue.

See the petition and a useful summary of the issues, maps and news articles


February Updates

2/29/08 Update: Senate Panel To Hold Oversight Hearing On Transmission Corridors

2/11/08 Update: Eleven environmental organizations sued the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in January over DOE’s designation of an eight-state area where federal eminent domain can be used to fast track new high-voltage transmission lines. Led by the National Wildlife Federation and the Piedmont Environmental Council, the groups filed suit because of DOE’s failure to study potential environmental impacts.

The Alliance is assisting by hosting this conservation defense section of the website and discussion group. Also see an article from the new Exchange on tactics to fight condemnation.


For more information:


Background

A national electric corridor "threatens over 400,000 acres of roadless forest in southern California,” according to the California Wilderness Coalition. See a map of the threatened corridor in California and Arizona (PDF, 1MB).

The US Department of Energy has also designated more than 116,000 square miles in upstate New York through Ohio in another corridor. The Corridor encompasses all of Delaware and 52 counties in Pennsylvania. See a map of the threatened corridor in the Mid-Atlantic (PDF, 2MB).

Using the ‘National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor’ designation allows utilities federal condemnation authority to site transmission lines, is exempt from environmental review, and preempts traditional state regulation of transmission lines and local land use laws. 

For more information:

Additional Resources:

  • Letter to Secretary Samuel Bodman, United States Department of Energy, from Brandywine Conservancy.
  • Comments of the Southern Environmental Law Center, et. al , responding to the United States Department of Energy's draft Mid-Atlantic area national corridor & draft southwest area national corridor.
  • Map of electric transmission congestion areas according to the Department of Energy, created by Piedmont Environmental Council.
  • "Juicing the System" an article from Forbes by Daniel Fischer
  • "Groups Challenge Department of Energy over Mid-Atlantic Corridor Designation" an article from the PA Department of Environmental Protection
  • Announcement of public meetings January on West-wide energy corridors
  • Map of the final designation of the Mid-Atlantic Corridor Map
  • Map created by Piedmont Environmental Council showing proposed transmission lines benefit nation's oldest, dirtiest power plants.
  • Pages from EPA Act 2005
  • Application for rehearing and immediate stay of the Department of Energy's order of the Southern Environmental Law Center, et. al. for the Mid-Atlantic are NIETC and the Southwest area NIETC
  • The Wilderness Society
    Nada Culver, Senior Council
    nada_culver@tws.org
    303-650-5818 x 117

 


 

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