Share This Page

FirstEnergy puts power line project in Marshall, Pine, Franklin Park on hold

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:31 p.m.

James and Barbara Stack chose to build their home on a 4-acre parcel in Marshall in 1978 because of all the lush vegetation in the area, which was once home to a nursery.

Now, James Stack is worried a FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary's plan to build an 8.2-mile electric transmission line from Franklin Park to Pine will disturb the tranquil landscape of his Mingo Road home.

“If they run the transmission line past my house and on my side of the road, they'll be cutting down 60 80-foot-tall white pines on my property,” he said. “If I don't agree to it, they'll take it by eminent domain.”

He and other residents were upset when Akron, Ohio-based American Transmission Systems Inc. announced in May that it planned to start construction of the power line in 2015. The company recently announced that the start of the project will be delayed by at least two years, spokesman Mark Durbin said.

American Transmission Systems plans to install a 69,000-kilovolt line connecting substations in Pine, Marshall and Franklin Park to enhance the system's reliability as demand grows from customers of Penn Power, also a FirstEnergy subsidiary, Durbin said.

The line will be built on new and expanded rights of way along Wexford Run, Mingo, Wexford Bayne and Nicholson roads. A 5.5-mile section of line between substations in Franklin Park and Marshall will exit the Marshall substation to the west, cross Interstate 79 and run parallel to the highway south to the Franklin Park substation.

Some Marshall residents object because of the potential negative impact to their homes and property, especially because the company was seeking a 60-foot right of way that would require the removal of vegetation, Marshall Manager Neil McFadden said.

Marshall officials sent a letter dated June 27 to FirstEnergy asking the company to put the line elsewhere. They suggested state game land in Marshall, an idea that fell flat with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, McFadden said.

Township officials are unhappy they learned about the project from a resident who received a letter from FirstEnergy in May, he said.

“This project was knocking at our door, and we had no prior knowledge of it,” McFadden said.

American Transmission Systems Inc. representatives had hoped to discuss residents' concerns at a public meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday, but the meeting was canceled because the project's postponement, Durbin said.

FirstEnergy told Marshall officials that financial matters put the project on hold, McFadden said.

Durbin said it made sense to postpone the project once the company looked at budgets and input from property owners who could be affected.

Franklin Park Manager Ambrose Rocca said he expects residents to object if the project moves forward.

Between 2000 and 2010, the populations of Pine, Marshall and Franklin Park increased 27 percent to 31,882, according to the Census Bureau. Pine's population increased about 50 percent to 11,497.

FirstEnergy doesn't expect issues to arise by not installing the power line in 2015, Durbin said.

“We think we're good for the foreseeable future. But down the road, we'll probably have to revisit this,” he said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.