As children, every one of us has learned about the importance of Virginia to the entire United States of America. At the very least, we were taught that this country started in Jamestown way back in 1607, when the English settlers first reached America and established Jamestown alongside the James River. It’s been over 400 years since the settlement was built, but its history and many of its artifacts remain for us to wonder over at the current Jamestown Settlement. However, this area is now in danger.
Imagine this: you’re visiting Jamestown, and are walking through the replica Indian Village towards the docks, learning about the history of our great nation one straw hut after another. You decide to double back to take a journey through the replica settlement itself and look through the various buildings, watch a blacksmith in colonial garb make a sword, and laugh at the flock of chickens darting around and through the buildings. In the distance you see the ships, and as you approach the docks the glorious James River stretches in front of you. But, at the end of the dock, the destination you were intent on reaching, power lines can be seen in the distance, marring this site for every person visiting the Settlement.
Power lines across the James River in such an important place proposes many problems for the community and the river itself. Local businesses and tourist attractions would be affected by the lines because they scar the historical value of the area. For example, Busch Gardens, a popular theme park in Williamsburg, would be just another park if it weren’t for the history around it. If the lines are indeed built, they would disturb the bottom of the river, taking up a significant amount of space, and affecting the populations of oysters, the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon, and other species along the riverbed. The Historic Triangle, for the most part, has proposed for the lines to be built in an alternate route, under the river itself, or updating existing lines down the peninsula.
However, Dominion Power, in support of the power lines to extend across the James River, has been adamantly fighting for their original plan to be approved. They’ve only altered it slightly since the problem was created a little over a year ago in June. The company believes that it is the only acceptable route to run the lines, in addition to building the switching station along the Williamsburg shoreline. The only thing holding them back from starting construction on the station is that they need a permit to build on the selected land, and they have yet to receive it due to so much opposition. They stand by the argument that the area is in desperate need of the lines, and that by August 2015 the Tidewater area’s power supply will not be up to regulation.
We understand the power lines are necessary to the east coast of Virginia. The lines are continuing to cause a ruckus amongst the local community; but, the bottom line is that we basically do not want the lines in view of Jamestown Settlement. Dominion refuses to back down from its position as well, and both sides are waiting anxiously for the conclusion of the case with the Norfolk District of the Army Corps of Engineers, whom will deem whether or not Dominion will receive the special permit it’s been seeking for over a year now to start building. Until the case is resolved, both sides refuse to back down, and the James River continues to be in jeopardy of falling even further into the claws of industrialization.
One of the most important areas of America’s history is in danger. The James River, named as such in honor of King James I, was chosen as the ideal location to build Jamestown Settlement. Now, over 400 years later, the local community prides itself in keeping the area as close to its original magnificence as possible, and giving the rest of the world the opportunity to learn about the past without having to pick up a textbook. However, recently the beauty of this area has been endangered. Dominion Virginia Power, the primary source of electricity amongst the state, has proposed that power lines be extended in plain sight over the James.
The idea behind the lines is a decent one; the tidewater region needs the extra boost in power in order to sustain acceptable regulations. The proposed lines would extend over the James River and run from the Surry Switching station to the newly proposed Skiffes Creek Switching station. Dominion offered this idea, featuring some 300 feet tall posts though a stretch of the river a year ago in June. I assume they did not realize just how much resistance they would be facing because of it.
As a resident of the Historic Triangle area for my entire life, it’s safe to say that when my community is against something, we fight adamantly against it until it goes into our favor. We pride ourselves in the beauty and historical significance of our towns and do not like when it becomes endangered. Therefore, when I first heard about the lines and the James I was kind of surprised it had made it so far into planning. I regularly visit the history my town has to offer me, whether its Colonial Williamsburg for a stroll down “DoG” street, Yorktown for a visit to the beach, or Jamestown to marvel at their museum and sight of the river. However, I know that the sight of power lines in direct view at one of my favorite places to visit would greatly upset me.
Therefore, I am against the lines, regardless of how important they are to the area. I do not really care where they are put, as long as it is not over the James River. Alternate options have been offered, such as crossing the river on existing towers, down the peninsula on existing towers away from the river, or even under the James itself. Regardless, Dominion still stands by its position, but we will not let them win easily. Think of beautiful places you’ve visited in the past, and imagine something marring the image, whether it’s a building, power lines, or even a road. That’s why I will defend the James.