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3528Re: [TalkAntietam] Area power needs could trump view of battlefield

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  • Joseph Pierro
    Aug 10 8:42 PM
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      Thanks for sharing that, Tom. As someone who lives outside of the Sharpsburg's media footprint, I don't think I would have seen this otherwise.

      Miss Dickinson's comment that they can't just "run power lines" through the battlefield is technically correct, but not necessarily relevant. Which is to say, the fact that prior authorization is necessary does not necessarily preclude companies from doing it anyway. (Many of you will recall a similar incident at Harper's Ferry recently, where a private company just went onto park land with a backhoe and laid their cables without bothering to ask. NPS complained afterward, but it was a fait accompli.)

      I must confess, though, that I don't understand the "either/or" suggested by the story. The article suggests that the only two options are to run lines through the battlefield or to re-direct them on private land, which Sharpsburg Councilman Russell Weaver says would be an "eyesore."

      Why?? Why do the lines have to be above ground? Why can't they be run underground on private land?

      But assuming the power company couldn't gain a right of way from private owners and needed to run it through the battlefield, why would it necessarily harm the battlefield? Above ground power lines used to run along the Emmitsburg Road at Gettysburg NMP. They have since been run underground--and in a manner that did not compromise the integrity of the historic space. Why can't they run an underground line beneath (or immediately parallel to) the existing road network at Antietam NB? The lines wouldn't be seen, and it wouldn't require the tearing up of additional sections of the battlefield.

      If anyone in this forum has any technical expertise in such matters, I'd be eager to know why something like that isn't feasible.

      --jake pierro


      ----- Original Message ----
      From: Tom Shay <RoteBaron@...>
      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 9:54:58 PM
      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Area power needs could trump view of battlefield

      From today's HAGERSTOWN HERALD-MAIL:

      SHARPSBURG - Antietam National Battlefield lies in a corridor where power lines could be raised to satisfy the mounting electricity needs associated with Western Maryland's population boom.

      Julie Ruggiero, a U.S. Department of energy spokeswoman, said the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor surrounding Antietam was just one area the federal government recently identified as a problem region. She said extending power lines across the battlefield - where 23,110 soldiers were killed, wounded or listed as missing during the Civil War - was far from a sure thing.

      "The goal isn't to get a line through (Antietam National Battlefield) ," said Ruggiero, adding that state and National Park Service lands cannot be seized without permission.

      Lee Dickinson, special park uses program manager for the National Park Service, said utility companies have to get a permit from the National Park Service before they can run power lines through a national park. "Them coming to us and saying, 'We're coming through with a power line' is not automatic," she said.

      National Park Service officials would consider a request to run the lines through the battlefield, but she said she doubted they would approve it. As an alternative, the power lines could be constructed on private property around the battlefield, she said.

      If that happens, Sharpsburg Councilman Russell Weaver said the lines would create an eyesore. He said, to his knowledge, the federal government never approached town leaders to discuss the power lines. "It's really shocking news ... We've spent years and years and years preserving Antietam," he said. Weaver suggested it might take political pressure from federal legislators to keep the power lines away from the battlefield.

      U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin's office said he would continue to review the issue "as the process moves forward," while the office of his fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, did not return telephone messages.

      Lisa Wright, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th, said the congressman would try to come up with a compromise that would provide electricity and preserve the battlefield. "He wants to facilitate both goals," Wright said.

      Posted by: Tom Shay

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