Power-Line Bills Downed

By Richmond Digest
Friday, January 25, 2008

Two bills that would have addressed some concerns of critics about a high-voltage power line planned for Northern Virginia failed in a Senate subcommittee yesterday.

Both bills were introduced by freshman Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester), who had campaigned on the issue.

One would have required power lines to be buried, wherever technologically feasible.

The other would have required power companies to compensate landowners for the loss in property value because of a power line, even if it were not on their property.

They were unanimously defeated by the utilities subcommittee of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

The bills were opposed by several utility companies, including Dominion Virginia Power, which is planning the 65-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line that will run through rural Northern Virginia, ending in Loudoun County.

Committee members said they were concerned that burying power lines could be cost-prohibitive and that it would be difficult and expensive to appraise and compensate all affected landowners.

Next month, the State Corporation Commission will begin deliberating over whether the power line should be built.

-- Sandhya Somashekhar

© 2008 The Washington Post Company