Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More State Autonomy...

"Going back a few years, do you remember the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors, aka, the NIETCs? These corridors made it possible for utilities to use federal eminent domain (or threaten to use it) for the siting of transmission lines."

Recently, the PEC won a 9th Circuit Court case against the Department of Energy designations -- and as of the first day of February, they're gone!
The 9th Circuit Court eliminates the corridor designations, ruling that DOE failed to conduct an environmental review as required by the National Environmental Policy Act and failed to consult with affected states. Included is a quote from the opinion:

"We determine that DOE failed to properly consult with the affected States in conducting the Congestion Study and failed to undertake any environmental study for its NIETC Designation as required by the National Environmental Protection Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 4332(C). We also determine that these failings were not harmless errors. Accordingly, we vacate the Congestion Study and NIETC designation and remand the cases to the DOE for further proceedings."

While this doesn't change things for those who are being impacted by the 500-kV TrAIL line, going forward, it takes away a major power company advantage, and could have a big impact on future transmission line proposals, including the 765-kV PATH line proposal currently under review.

This also signals a diversion from the liberals who support PEC, in that they have accepted a State Court protecting the autonomy of the State's right to protect it's citizens from the advances and over-reach of a Federal this case, the Department of Energy.

Stay tuned. This news, on top of already bad news is just another brick around PATH's proverbial neck.

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