A Pause for Reflection on a Saturday Morning After a Crazy Week

I write The Power Line to help West Virginians sort out fact from fiction in the complex issues surrounding the PATH and TrAIL power lines.  While my point of view is clear, I try to stay focused on providing links and information that you can use.

After I posted the Ives’ letter last Thursday night, I was at a loss as to what to post next.  I wanted to let the letter speak for itself, so I did not include my own reactions in that post.

In this post, I ask your forgiveness if I step back from recent subjects and give you some of my own thoughts.

Last year about this time, I posted a page on this blog called Nobody Talks About the Land.  If you want to better understand what I say in this post, I suggest you click on the link and read that page.

First, I must say that when I read the Ives’ letter last Thursday night on the PSC Web site, I responded by feeling an almost physical pain.  The common cliche is that I felt as if I had been hit in the gut.

As I described in the page I posted last year, there is a direct physical connection between farmers and land.  Some may feel it more strongly than others, but it is there.  Rural land owners experience the forced seizure of their land as a physical violation, a beating that is supported and sanctioned by political authority and law.

Listen to the pain and powerlessness in the Ives’ letter:

As he (the last of 4 representatives we’ve had in less than two years) said” you’ll just learn to live with what you have” get over it, you don’t have any choice, TrailCo can do anything it wants.

The phrase “get over it” is exactly what the power companies want us to do.  “Get over it” is what crime victims are often told.  Forget your pain, forget your anger, forget your frustration that no one will help you — “get over it.”

The power company conglomerates AEP and Allegheny Energy see West Virginians as speed bumps on the road to their shiny new mega-transmission projects.  We are a temporary inconvenience, pathetic nuisances that refuse to sacrifice our land for the national interest.

Here is a quote from an article I read just this morning “While lengthy and contentious permitting continues to delay projects”.  That’s all we are, a “delay” in projects that have bigger and better things in store for everyone.  We are “contentious” and ignorant of the larger, more important issues.

Clearly those of us who are standing up for ourselves, our neighbors and our state have a different point of view.  We can demonstrate that TrAIL and PATH are not needed, will make our electrical system less reliable and less secure, and are misguided investments that waste valuable resources.  The power companies want to put us in a box of being NIMBYs, “environmentalists”, or selfish crackpots, when in fact, we have clear responses to all their claims about their projects.

As you know, if you have read my most recent posts, I have been actively involved in the public push for WV Senate Bill 614 which would allow land owners a fighting chance to protect their property when a new transmission project threatens their land.

That experience has demonstrated clearly to me the depth of West Virginians’ love of their land and their state.  In all my discussions with Senators in the last two weeks, I did not find a single one who opposed the land owner notice provisions of SB614.  That fundamental value was expressed clearly in the unanimous vote to pass the bill in the Senate last Wednesday.

In fact, I have talked to only one legislator in the last month who opposed the idea of SB614.  That was a Delegate who had just come from AEP/Allegheny’s secret propaganda meeting for select legislators.  I would hope that upon more sober reflection, even this gentleman would support his fellow West Virginians.

I have been gratified to see the immediate and deep support we have received in both the Senate and the House of Delegates for protecting land owners from predation by out of state corporations.  When people across the state notified our political leaders that we needed their action to help us, every single West Virginia Senator stood with us.

Thank you, Senators.  We hope that by this time next week, we can offer the same vote of thanks to members of the House of Delegates.

Let’s all work to make sure that future West Virginians will not have to go through the Ives’ nightmare.