Congressional vote doesn't go McDonnell's way

John O'Brien Jun. 21, 2007, 3:25pm


RICHMOND, Va. - All Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell wanted was a little more time, but the House of Representatives just wouldn't give it to him.

McDonnell was hoping the Wolf-Hinchey Amendment would pass and prevent the use of any federal funds for the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors for the coming fiscal year. A 257-174 vote ruined those wishes.

McDonnell has maintained that the federal Department of Energy has not asked for enough input from the states as it designs the NIETC, which is broken into two designations. The proposed Mid-Atlantic Area National Corridor includes counties in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Virginia, and all of New Jersey, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

The proposed Southwest Area National Corridor includes counties in California, Arizona, and Nevada.

"The designations could result in unprecedented encroachment upon the traditional role of the states in the approval of electric transmission projects, and consultation with affected states in the process has been inadequate," McDonnell said.

"We have expressed these concerns to the Department of Energy and will continue to do so. States must play the key role in the siting of electric transmission lines, as they understand far better the environmental, historic and economic implications of these decisions."

According to a report by The Associated Press, the designations may help private industry companies obtain permits from state regulators or work with regional groups to build new power lines.

The amendment would have allowed "needed time for the additional input from the states and further discussion with the federal government on this critical energy policy question," McDonnell added.

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