Neighbors voice opinions on proposed power lines through York and Franklin counties

LOWER CHANCEFORD TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Some neighbors in one southern York County community are saying ‘not in my backyard’ to a proposed electrical transmission line.

The new power lines would span 45 miles, and pass along rural farmland in both Franklin and York counties.

Monday, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission held the last of its York County public hearings.

The purpose of the hearings is to find out what the people who live in the area have to say about the plan.

The proposal for more power lines that could place an electrical substation practically in Courtney Dettinger’s backyard has her nearly at a loss for words.

“We just kind of found out because we knew that there was a meeting in one of the local fire halls. We knew nothing about it,” Dettinger said.

Dettinger, her husband, and many of their neighbors had a lot to say at Monday’s public hearing with the Pennsylvania PUC.

“It’s important for me to be here today because this is our one and last chance to say why we do not want this power line,. It’s our last chance to talk to the judges and tell them why this is not needed, and why none of us want it going through our properties,” Dettinger said.

Public Utility Commission deputy press secretary Dave Hixson said “this is an opportunity for the judges who are presiding over the case to hear from the public, to get their input, and that all becomes a part of the official record that will be used to make a recommended decision to the commission.”

Transource Energy is overseeing the Independence Energy Connection project, which it estimated will create nearly 150 full-time jobs, and generate $44 million into the local economy.

Transource Energy Director Todd Burns said “it will be a reinforcement to the grid. It will be economic stimulus for the area, and then it will also help support the economy by giving people access to lower cost electricity.”

Some neighbors worry about at what cost the towering power lines might have on their health.

“There’s been a lot of study over the years on health concerns and electrical magnetic fields and and the results have been inconclusive,” Burns said.

“My husband and I don’t have any children, so childhood leukemia is a huge concern, and health risks from it. I am a registered nurse so I have the ability and can understand research,” Dettinger said.

While the PUC’S administration law judges listen to what neighbors have to say, people on both sides just want to be heard.

“We’ve tried to route the project in a way that best balances those impacts,” Burns said.

“We’re kind of going through this process and hoping that this isn’t just part of the process and that we are being heard,” Dettinger said.

The judges will present the results of the hearings to the five PUC commissioners, who will gave the ultimate say on whether to accept, reject or modify the recommendations.