James River Transmission Line Proposal by Dominion Virginia Power Before Corps or Engineers and James City County; Corps Public Comment Perido Ended Nov. 13, 2015; Latest Draft Mitigation Plan Submitted by Dominion to Corps in June 2016

Update 6/15/16: On June 13, 2016, Dominion Virginia Power released its latest plan—submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—for mitigating environmental impacts of its proposed $155-million, 17-tower, 500-kilovolt transmission line from its Surry Nuclear Power Station in Surry County across the James River to a proposed switching station near Skiffes Creek in James City County.  The plan released on June 13 provides more details on proposed mitigation activities than had been provided in a December 2015 version; in March 2016, the Corps notified Dominion areas needing more information.  The newly released proposal is Dominion’s response.  As in the previous version, the proposed mitigation activities would cost around $85 million.  Source: Mitigation plan largely unchanged, number remains at $85 million, Virginia Gazette, 6/14/16.

Original post in November 2015: November 13, 2015, was the last day for public comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Dominion Virginia Power’s application to build a $155-million, 17-tower, 500-kilovolt transmission line from its Surry Nuclear Power Station in Surry County across the James River to a proposed switching station near Skiffes Creek in James City County.  To comment on the proposal for a Corps permit, send comments to Randy Steffey, Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers, (Attn: CENAO-WRR-S), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1096; e-mail: randy.l.steffey@usace.army.mil.

Skilles Creek Transmission Project map

Project location map for proposed power-transmission line from Surry Nuclear Power Station in Surry County, Va., to a proposed switching station near Skiffes Creek in James City County, Va., accessed at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Web site, http://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/SkiffesCreekPowerLine.aspx, 11/11/15.

Dominion asserts that the transmission line is necessary for electricity reliability on Virginia’s Peninsula (the location of the Hampton Roads area with about 500,000 residents, several military installations, and many other power users).  The project faces opposition from groups and citizens who object to the impact they believe the line would have on views from Jamestown Island and other historic or scenic locations.

The transmission line was approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) in November 2013, but that approval was challenged by James City County, Save the James Alliance Trust, and the James River Association, who asserted that local zoning approval was necessary for the project; and by BASF Corporation, who objected to the line’s crossing an environmental-remediation area on James River property owned by the corporation.  In April 2015, the Virginia Supreme Court said the SCC did not err in approving the transmission line route, but the court also said local government approval is, in fact, necessary for the switching station in James City County.

As of November 11, 2015, Dominion still needed a permit from the Corps of Engineers, and the James City County Board of Supervisors had yet to rule on Dominion’s application for a special use permit to build the Skiffes Creek switching station.

For information about the application for a Corps of Engineers permit, visit http://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/SkiffesCreekPowerLine.aspx.

Dominion information is available online at https://www.dom.com/corporate/what-we-do/electricity/transmission-lines-and-projects/surry-skiffes-creek-500kv-and-skiffes-creek-whealton-230kv-projects.

A PDF of the April 2015 Virginia Supreme Court ruling on the transmission line is available online at http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1140462.pdf.

News Media Sources Used For This Post
Power line across the James River: An intrusive eyesore or electrical necessity?Virginian-Pilot, 9/27/15.
Charles City County residents oppose Dominion’s Chickahominy alternative route, Virginia Gazette, 11/4/15.
Near Jamestown, Dominion power line battles history, “Marketplace” (American Public Media), 8/18/15.|
Transmission line project over James River voted down [by James City County Planning Commission on 8/5/15], WVEC-TV Norfolk, 8/6/15.
New Battle of Jamestown pits power lines against preservationists, Washington Post, 7/14/15.
Groups fight to save James River views from overhead power lines, Bay Journal, 7/8/15.
Opponents cheer Va. ruling on James River transmission line, Associated Press, as published by WAVY-TV Portsmouth, Va., 4/16/15.
Va. approves controversial Dominion power line over historic James River, Washington Post, 11/27/13.

Later News Media Articles

DomPower: Skiffes Creek necessary to avoid rolling blackouts or worse, Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, 1/17/17.

Clash of Competing Values, Bacon’s Rebellion, 1/20/16 [Detailed article on process of, and concerns about, the routes of Dominion Virginia Power’s proposed Surry-Skiffes Creek transmission line over the James River near Jamestown, and of the company’s proposed Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline.]

Army Corps to host sit-down between Dominion and opposition groups on Surry-Skiffes Creek project, Virginia Gazette, 1/19/16.

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