Army Corps, Dominion, Consulting Parties to Discuss Power Line Mitigation

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This map, provided by Dominion Virginia Power, shows the two routes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified as the best options for powering the Peninsula, the Surry-Skiffes Creek-Whealton 500kV Overhead power line and the Chickahominy-Skiffes Creek-Whealton 500kV power line., in a preliminary findings report. (Courtesy of Dominion Virginia Power)
This map, provided by Dominion Virginia Power, shows the two routes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified as the best options for powering the Peninsula, the Surry-Skiffes Creek-Whealton 500kV Overhead power line and the Chickahominy-Skiffes Creek-Whealton 500kV power line., in a preliminary findings report. (Courtesy of Dominion Virginia Power)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dominion Virginia Power and various consulting parties will gather Tuesday to discuss mitigation options for the proposed Surry-Skiffes Creek-Whealton transmission line.

The meeting, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 2 at Legacy Hall, 4301 New Town Ave., will be open to the public but there will not be an opportunity for public comment.

Patrick Bloodgood, spokesman for the Army Corps, said a discussion on mitigation is required by the National Environmental Policy Act and part of the Army Corps’ permit decision-making process.

Dominion cannot construct its proposed transmission lines without a building permit from the Army Corps.

Identifying options for mitigation would not arbitrarily grant Dominion a permit to build the transmission lines, Bloodgood said.

After reviewing all of the information it has obtained on the project, including potential environmental impacts, the Army Corps can determine a Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI, or conclude that an Environmental Impact Statement is required before a permit decision can be made.

“All the input from the consulting parties and the public is very valuable to us in one degree or another in our decision-making,” Bloodgood said. “Having a sit-down meeting face-to-face highlights the importance of those questions, concerns and comments that are raised so we can try to hash through them and get better clarification.”

The consulting parties meeting comes shortly after a 30-day comment period ended for a memorandum of agreement, which addressed mitigation of the project’s effects on cultural properties and the environment.

There are 16 consulting parties, including the National Parks Conservation Association, which commissioned a study on Dominion’s demand projections last year.

Dominion’s transmission line project includes the proposed Surry-Skiffes Creek 500 kilovolt (kV) line, which would cross the James River; the Skiffes Creek Switching Station and the Skiffes Creek-Whealton 230kV line.

The project would bring power to the Peninsula after the closure of two coal-burning plants at the Yorktown Power Station. The plants are currently set to close in April but Dominion is seeking an administrative order from the Environmental Protection Agency to keep the plants in operation through June 1, 2017.