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TrAIL Project (Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)

STATUS:  In progress with opposition

TYPE: Transmission

OPPOSITION:  Environmental groups, local residents

PROSPECTS:  Likely

BACKGROUND: The Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line (TrAIL) is a new 500-kV transmission line extending from Southwestern Pennsylvania to West Virginia to Northern Virginia.  The $820 million project was approved by PJM Interconnect, a Regional Transmission Operator, in June 2006.  The line is being developed by TrAILCo, a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy.  TrAILCo filed applications in the spring of 2007, seeking authorization from the necessary state regulatory commissions to build the line.  In fall of 2007, public input hearings were held to allow for interested parties to comment on the line.  Evidentiary hearings were conducted in early 2008, and state regulators in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia approved construction of the line later in the year.

Since the project’s inception, various environmental and citizen groups have come out in opposition to the project, including Sierra Club and Piedmont Environmental Council.  They argue the line is not needed and that TrAILCo has overlooked significant adverse environmental impacts and failed to consider the opportunities to reduce demand through energy conservation.  Significant public pressure in Pennsylvania forced TrAILCo to re-route the project early in its development.

Because state and federal authorities approved TrAIL, the opposition groups filed suit in Virginia to block the project.  On November 5, 2009, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of TrAIL and allowed construction to move forward.  TrAILCo expects to complete the project in 2011.

SOURCES: TrAIL: http://www.aptrailinfo.com; http://www.aptrailinfo.com/index.php?page=overview;
Global Transmission Report:  http://www.globaltransmission.info/archive.php?id=1960;
Stop AP TrAIL: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6792997119;
No Towers in WV: http://www.notowersinwv.org/;
Sierra Club: http://westvirginia.sierraclub.org/aptrail_campaign.html; http://westvirginia.sierraclub.org/APTRAIL_background.html;
Piedmont Environmental Council: http://www.pecva.org/anx/index.cfm/1,516,0,0,html/TrAIL-line-Information;
http://www.pecva.org/anx/index.cfm/1,516,2683,0,html/Virginia-Supreme-Court-Upholds-TrAIL-Approval     

Last Updated:  December 6, 2010