Positions on the Power Lines

For the last couple of months, the Historic Triangle area has been in an argument with Dominion regarding power lines being installed over the James River. The original problem with the situation is that the lines would indeed be visible from the docks in Historic Jamestown; however, the area understands that the need for the lines is necessary, along with the Surry-Skiffes Creek Switching Station to be built close to the colonial town. 

There are other issues with the proposed idea of building the lines on their original route. I have mentioned in the past about real estate being affected and also tourism; who would want to take a picture on the docks of Jamestown with power lines looming in the distance behind them? In addition to this, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service will further prevent construction in regards to the James River’s Atlantic Sturgeon population and its spawning seasons (Langley 4).

Dominion stands by the original route offered though. They claim is the most financially acceptable area, and the only one able to be completed by August 2015, a deadline necessary to safely provide electricity to the Tidewater Area. The company “has rejected alternatives for a number of reasons, such as the potential for the line to encroach on military bases, an unacceptable number of private residences that could be affected and a lack of reliability,” (Voll). The only thing preventing them from starting construction is a permit from the Norfolk District of the Army Corps of Engineers (Langley 4).

The side in opposition to Dominion vary from no lines at all to other alternatives for the lines themselves. Most of the local population and area accept the fact that the lines need to be built, but have emphasized heavily on an alternate route. For example, many are in favor of, if the lines were indeed to be built along the same route, they should be built underwater. Another idea is upgrading the lines further inland at another crossing point rather than building a whole new Switching Station right at the start of the James River. And another is equipping a new 500 kV power line along existing towers down the peninsula, shown in the image below as the dotted blue line (Parker).

Map of proposed/existing lines and switching stations, taken from Desiree Parker’s article in the WY Daily, Oct 17th 2012.

So the argument stands as such: Dominion wants the lines and station on the originally proposed route, which has been updated slightly over the year. However, the locals of the Historic Triangle area would much prefer an alternate route or an upgrade to previously built lines. This is still an ongoing argument for the Army Corps in charge of assigning the permit for Dominion to start working on the project. As of October 2013, those in opposition of the line are asking for a public hearing in order to “fully explore all likely impacts of this project,” a quote taken from an online petition against the lines (Langley 4).

Works Cited:

Langley, Cortney. “Power Line Foes Gain Momentum Online.”Daily Press [James City] 30 Sep 2013, 4. Print.

Parker, Desiree. “CW, WM and Preservation Virginia Oppose Power Line Across James River.” WY Daily [Williamsburg-Yorktown] 17 Oct 2012, n. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. <http://wydaily.com/2012/10/17/cw-wm-and-preservation-virginia-oppose-power-line-across-james-river/>.

Voll, Brittany. “Closing Briefs Filed in Dominion Overhead Power Line SCC Case.” WY Daily [Williamsburg-Yorktown] 29 May 2013, n. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.




3 thoughts on “Positions on the Power Lines

  1. Alison Tyler

    I think you definitely have a strong argument and your very passionate about it and your two sides are very clear about who wants what. If I had to choose a side it would be with those who feel that the existing power lines should be upgraded. Do you have an idea of how much it would cost verses building a new one?

    1. Jenny Silva Post author

      I actually do not. i will look for the cost for a future paper; it was a generalization regarding their idea to, instead of beefing up an existing line, run an almost completely new one through more of the wetlands Virginia is trying to protect. THank you for pointing it out! Do you think that i represent Dominion’s side without bias? I am very into keeping my history the way it is, but i feel that i’m skimping on Dominion’s point of view.

  2. Cortney Barden

    Since Dominion wants it done their way because it will be the most financially accepted plan, maybe you could interview people in the town and even tourists to get more opinions to present to Dominion to show them how much this would impact the area. Does Dominion have a deadline yet when they will make their final decision?


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