A little after 10:30 last night, the WV Senate passed House Concurrent Resolution 149. The resolution has passed both houses of the Legislature and expresses the will of the Legislature that the WV PSC approve the rebuilding of the Pruntytown to Mt. Storm 500 kV transmission line owned by FirstEnergy subsidiary Monongahela Power.
The resolution, originally introduced in the House as HCR 58, stalled in the House Rules Committee after the PATH project died. HCR 58 had been held up by the construction trades lobbyists and the power companies, because it asked the PSC to suspend consideration of PATH. When PJM Interconnection killed PATH, Delegate Mike Manypenny, the resolution’s lead sponsor along with 20 other Delegates, acted quickly to revise the resolution eliminating all references to PATH and pushing only for the Pruntytown to Mt. Storm rebuild.
The House Rules committee reintroduced our revised resolution as HCR 149 and lobbying earlier in the week resulted in an agreement by both the construction unions and the power companies not to block the new HCR 149. The House finally acted on Thursday, and the resolution was communicated to the Senate on Friday. On Saturday afternoon, with about seven hours left in the legislative session, HCR 149 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, a move that appeared to kill our chances of getting it to the Senate floor.
With a final flurry of citizen phone calls, we convinced Sen. Corey Palumbo, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to release HCR 149 to the Senate floor for a vote, which happened an hour and a half before the session ended at midnight. Sen. Palumbo, along with acting Senate President Jeff Kessler and ever-stalwart Senate Majority Leader John Unger deserve a lot of credit for reviving HCR 149 and getting it to the Senate floor at the last minute.
Here is a link to an earlier post that contains the text of the revised HCR 149 which passed last night.
As the text of HCR 149 notes, the WV PSC has already ordered FirstEnergy to provide a report on the condition of the Pruntytown to Mt. Storm line when the TrAIL line is turned on in June. We need to keep our eyes on the PSC and FirstEnergy to see that FirstEnergy meets this deadline and that the PSC acts responsibly to insure the reliability of our state’s electrical system.
As you may know, the rebuilding of the Pruntytown to Mt. Storm line was an essential part of Dominion’s Alternative One. Dominion has received a number of the needed approvals for the other half of Alternative One, rebuilding of Dominion’s Mt. Storm to Doubs line. With both these lines rebuilt, there will be no need even to consider another line like PATH for at least another 30 years.