Thursday, October 4, 2007

Maryland, the 'Old Power Line State'

Wednesday's Washington Post reported on a federal government decision which has declared "much of the Mid-Atlantic region ... a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor." The corridor extends from Washington's northern Virgina suburbs to upstate New York and includes all of the District and most of Maryland. This ruling by the US Department of Energy will allow power companies expanded powers of eminent domain in case negotiations with local or state officals stall.

It just seems surreal to open the newspaper and discover that the entire state you live in has been declared a power transmission corridor. Track Twenty-Nine assumes that although "almost all of Maryland" has been delcared a zone for the further despoilment of both nature and the built environment, that the few exempted parts of Maryland might include the State House. Of course, one can't be too sure, just because its the oldest State Capitol Building still in use in the United States shouldn't stand in the way of New Yorkers' ability to blend smoothies.

It's ironic that the day before this story broke, the University of Maryland's LEAF house (solar powered) was taken to the National Mall. It's just uncanny that the Department of Energy announced this just before the DC Green Festival. The question, I think, should be what we can do to reduce our demand for energy, not how we can transmit more of it. If we don't have a drastic change of course in our energy policy, we may not have a need for power transmission lines in the Mid-Atlantic region. I suppose the Bush administration is determined to leave an indullible mark on society. Melting the polar ice caps would definitely achieve that, so I suppose Mr. Bush is on track to achieve his goal. Let's hope that one turns out as badly for him as Iraq.

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