McDonnell visits D.C. to argue with Energy Department

John O'Brien Nov. 6, 2007, 2:14pm


WASHINGTON, D.C. - State Attorney General Bob McDonnell and other Virginia officials spoke Tuesday to the federal Department of Energy in an attempt to have their state bypassed by private companies seeking to construct new power lines.

According to a report in the D.C. Examiner, McDonnell was joined by Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and Rep. Frank Wolf (R) in his latest plea to the agency.

In April, McDonnell complained that the feds were overlooking state input when proposing two National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor destinations. Three months later, he and Kaine wrote Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman to request Virginia be left out of the NIETC.

Tuesday, he spoke directly to the agency, claiming its decision to designate several states for this purpose was a "usurpation of the state's proper role in the siting and approving of electric transmission corridors," according to the report.

The Department of Energy issued two draft National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor 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.

Bodman has said the plans are crucial to the future of energy in the country.

"These draft designations set us on the path to modernize our constrained and congested electric power infrastructure. They are a crucial step toward realizing President Bush's goal of a modern, more efficient electric power delivery system," Bodman said.

According to the report, Dominion Virginia Power is waiting on the approval of a transmission line in Northern Virginia. Already, Pepco Energy Services' plan to construct a line from Northern Virginia to New Jersey has been approved.

"There is no reason for the federal government to override a process that is well-handled and better handled at the state level," Kaine said, according to the report.

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