FAWN TWP., Pa. - The company that is responsible for building two power lines to transport electricity from Pennsylvania to other states in the region has announced the proposed pathways for those lines.
In submitting its applications to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the review will now begin on the proposed $320 million project.
"Transource balanced it with a number of citing factors such as environmental concerns, sensitive species and habitats, existing land uses, and cultural and historical resources, and used that to develop the proposed routes," said Abby Foster, a community affairs representative for Transource.
Two separate power lines in York and Franklin counties are being proposed in the project, dubbed the Independence Energy Connection.
The York County line begins at a proposed electric substation planned for Lower Chanceford Township, traveling into Fawn Township before connecting with a substation in Harford County, Maryland.
In Franklin County, a proposed substation would be built in Southampton Township, and the power line path runs through Greene, Guilford, Quincy and Washington townships before connecting with a different substation in Washington County, Maryland.
Transource representatives said they made changes to the project based on public input received at several open houses in 2017 that they hope would reduce impact on farmland.
"We had some feedback from the community that the original lattice structure that was proposed, they would prefer something with a smaller structure base," Foster said. "We changed it to a monopole and that's what we submitted to the PUC."
But farmers along the path of the power line in York County say they are committed to fighting the proposal.
"This whole project is not really necessary," said Barron Shaw, a farmer who owns Shaw Orchards, with farm property in York County and Maryland. "It's a market efficiency project that benefits a few people in Northern Virginia at great cost to the people in Pennsylvania."
The path cuts through the land of 49 York County landowners in Lower Chanceford and Fawn townships,farmers said, including farmland owned by Hugh McPherson of Maple Lawn Farms and Maize Quest.
"It definitely seems like the path was targeted to minimize the number of landowners and maximize the amount of farmland that's used for this power line, which is very concerning," he said.
With a considerable amount of farmland in the area considered preserved, farmers say they are ready to take their concerns to the PUC.
"There are so many farms around us that are preserved," said Dolores Krick of Muddy Creek Meadows Riding Stable & Crop Farm. "State and federal money has been used to preserve those farms, and it's not fair to the taxpayers."
There is no timetable on when the PUC could make a decision, but a formal protest period is expected to begin later this month.