The U.S. Department of Energy has affirmed its decision to designate much of Pennsylvania as national energy corridor. That designation could make it easier for Allegheny Energy to build proposed transmission lines through Washington and Greene counties in Pennsylvania. Still unclear is whether the federal government would be able to use eminent domain in states that reject proposed power line projects.
Opponents to the project in southwestern Pennsylvania say it's not needed and could cause environmental damage. The towers supporting the lines would be up to 160 feet tall. The lines would begin in Pennsylvania and continue into West Virginia and northern Virginia. Allegheny Energy says the region will be at risk of blackouts by 2011 unless the lines are built.
Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission will hold hearings on the project in Pittsburgh later this month.