CRITICAL LINKS TO CRITICAL DOCUMENTS:
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:
FIRSTENERGY HAS APPLIED TO THE OHIO EPA FOR A PERMIT ALLOWING THEM TO DEGRADE THE GRAND RIVER WATERSHED.
On February 17, FirstEnergy published a mandatory public notice in the Geauga Maple Leaf, stating that they would like an EPA permit to degrade the water quality of the Grand River Watershed by building the Geauga 138 kV Transmission Line Project. The public notice is on line, click here to see the Public Notice as printed.
The notice states that, "Public notice is hereby given that the Ohio Environmental protection Agency (Ohio EPA) Division of Surface Water (DSW) has received an application for, and has begun to consider whether to issue or deny, a Clean Water Act Section 401water quality certification for a project to install the Stacy Substation and a 138 kV overhead electric transmission line connecting the Stacy Substation to an existing transmission line ... The application was submitted by Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and American Transmission Systems, Incorporated." It states that, "Discharges from the activity, if approved, would result in degradation to, or lowering of, the water quality within the Grand River watershed. Ohio EPA will review the application, and decide whether to grant or deny the application, in accordance with OAC Chapters 3745-1 and 3745-32."
The notice concludes by stating, "Persons washing to 1) be on Ohio EPA's interested parties mailing list for this project, 2) request a public hearing, or 3) submit written comments for Ohio EPA's consideration in reviewing the application should do so in writing to Ohio EPA-DSW, Attention: Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049 within thirty days of the date of this public notice."
Friends and neighbors, this could be the break for which we have been waiting. We now have an opportunity to comment on the Geauga 138 kV Transmission Line Project to an agency with the authority to stop the madness, and is independent of the Public Utilities Commission of FirstEnergy.
It is absolutely critical that EVERYONE do exactly what the Public Notice says we have the right to do,
PLEASE write a letter, in your own words, making the three points above, to:
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency – Division of Surface Water
Attention: Permits Processing Unit
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049
You should also send letters to
Letters to your Township Trustees would also be helpful.
Personally written letters are best, but if you do not have time to write one yourself, click here for a ready-to-sign letter to the Ohio EPA. PLEASE PRINT THIS LETTER and persuade all of your friends and neighbors to sign it.
You may send your letter personally or bring it to any CARE meeting or event. CARE will gather letters and send them to Ohio EPA in a batch. CARE pays the postage!
If you have any questions about the Public Notice or your rights, please come to the CARE Regular Meeting on Thursday, March 3, 7:30 PM, at the Montville Community Center. The Montville Community Center is located at 9755 Madison Road, Montville, Ohio 44064, just south of US-6. Click here for a map.
This process is an excellent opportunity to have a MAJOR IMPACT on preserving our communities. PLEASE do not let this one get away!
Working together, we will prevail.
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:
REPORT FROM THE EPA PUBLIC HEARING
ON MONDAY, JUNE 13, 7 PM.
On February 17, FirstEnergy published a mandatory public notice in the Geauga Maple Leaf, stating that they would like an EPA permit to degrade the water quality of the Grand River Watershed by building the Geauga 138 kV Transmission Line Project. The public notice is on line, click here to see the Public Notice as printed. Thanks to the many letters that were written to The Ohio EPA by interested parties like you, The Ohio EPA held a public hearing in Montville on Monday, June 13, 2011.
Approximately eighty interested individuals attended the hearing. FirstEnergy had a large contingent of people, including attorneys, as expected. There were many familiar CARE members at the hearing, but also a surprising number of new people that I had never met. All three Montville Township Trustees attended, but trustees from Huntsburg and Thompson were absent. There were several information handouts at the door, which I have scanned and are on line here.
The hearing was run by Ohio EPA Public Information Coordinator Kristopher Weiss and Regional Division of Surface Water manager Ed Wilk. They started with a short presentation describing different types of wetlands and the data that they had regarding the damage that FirstEnergy has applied for a permit to accomplish. The slides from their presentation are on line, click here to see them.
After the presentation, a Q&A session followed. Many people had questions, although some of the questions from non-CARE members were not on-message. The best questions came from CARE members who had the facts and background knowledge to put the Ohio EPA team "on the spot." After the Q&A, the actual public hearing started.
A court reporter transcribed the hearing, which started with Kris Weiss reading a script of public hearing rules. Everyone was shocked to learn that we were to have only three minutes to testify per person! Many CARE members, including myself, had significantly longer prepared testimony, and were forced to heavily abbreviate our testimony on-the-fly. CARE members and friends that testified included Linda Sekura (from the Sierra Club), Alexa Holbert (Montville Township Trustee), Kathleen Binnig, Mark Binnig, Ron Burba, Sharon Blankenship, Pat Jonath, CyZion, and many others. If anyone would like to read my testimony as presented, please send me an email, email@example.com, and I will be happy to send you a copy. Only two individuals testified in favor of the Section 401 Water Quality Permit: Orwell Mayor Lawrence Bottoms, (440)437-6459, firstname.lastname@example.org, and a gentleman from the Geauga County Department of Community and Economic Development. Both of their testimony was focused on money and industrial growth, not on the topic of the actual hearing. Given the three minute time limit per witness, the hearing ended at approximately 9:15 PM.
I was personally proud of the testimony presented by CARE members and friends of CARE. We did a magnificent job of making our case under difficult circumstances. The work that went into dividing up the topics and presenting a well rounded set of testimony clearly paid off.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO WORKED HARD, PREPARED TESTIMONY, AND MADE YOUR VOICE HEARD BEFORE THE OHIO EPA.
The public comment period ends MONDAY, JUNE 20. If you have not sent written comments to the Ohio EPA, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO SO. Please send your comments to the following four agencies:
Reporting on the impact of FirstEnergy's proposed project, The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio stated for the record that,
"The impacts to wetlands along the Preferred Route would be significant and permanent."
The Ohio EPA web site has a page of all current applications for Section 401 Water Quality Certification permits. Click here for the Section 401 permit page.
Our project is Ohio EPA #093580. Here are links to:
Please send your comments NOW and make your voice heard! Do not tolerate the wanton destruction of precious, irreplaceable resources such as the Grand River Watershed by an ill conceived and poorly designed project.
Working together, we will prevail.