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Pennsylvania Transmission Siting Authorization to Locate and Construct (8-PA-a)

Information current as of 2020
In Pennsylvania, a developer must obtain an Authorization to Locate and Construct from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to construct a transmission that exceeds 100 kilovolts (kV). The PUC has the authority to authorize the location and construction of transmission lines pursuant to 52 PA. Code. §57.71.

Transmission Siting Authorization to Locate and Construct Process

8-PA-a.1 to 8-PA-a.2 — Does the Project Require a Transmission Line that Exceeds 100kV?

A developer must obtain an Authorization to Locate and Construct a transmission line that exceeds 100 kilovolts (kV). 52 PA. Code. §57.71.

8-PA-a.3 to 8-PA-a.6 — Does the Project Qualify for Expedited Review?

A developer’s project qualifies for an expedited review during the following instances:

  • The proposed transmission line will be located entirely within an existing transmission line right-of-way and will not substantially alter the right-of-way;
  • The proposed transmission line will be located within a public road;
  • The proposed increase in transmission line voltage will not substantially alter the right-of-way;
  • The proposed reconduction or reconstruction will not substantially alter the right-of-way; or,
  • The proposed transmission route is less than two (2) miles.

52 PA. Code. §57.72(d).

If the proposed project qualifies for an expedited review, the developer may send the PUC a Letter of Notification, rather than an Application for Authorization to Locate and Construct. After receipt of the Letter, the PUC has the authority to approve or disapprove the Letter of Notification. If the PUC does not approve the Letter, then the developer must submit an Application for Authorization to Construct to the PUC for a full review. 52 PA. Code. §57.72(d).

8-PA-a.7 — Application for Authorization to Locate and Construct

The developer must submit a complete Application to Locate and Construct (Application) to the PUC. An Application should include, at minimum, the following:

  • The name of the applicant (developer) and the address of its principal business office;
  • The name, title and business address of the attorney of the applicant and the person authorized to receive notice and communications;
  • The name of any entity that owns property within the proposed right-of-way and any property rights the applicant acquired in the right-of-way;
  • Statement of need for the transmission line to meet present and future demands and how it will do so;
  • Safety considerations that will be incorporated into design, construction, and maintenance;
  • Description of archaeologic, geologic, historic, scenic or wilderness areas of significance within two (2) miles;
  • Description of airports within two (2) miles;
  • Description and comparison of alternative routes and why the proposed route was chosen;
  • List of requirements from governmental agencies for the proposed transmission line;
  • Estimated cost of construction;
  • A general description of the proposed route for the HV line;
  • Proof of right-of-ways;
  • Any environmental impact studies and efforts taken to minimize the impact on the environment; and
  • The follow exhibits:
    • Aerial photos and topographic map of the proposed route;
    • In-depth, technical description of the proposed transmission line;
    • Cross-section drawing of the transmission line with supporting structures;
    • System map; and,
    • Statement of current or past litigation concerning the project.

52 PA. Code. §57.72(c).

8-PA-a.8 — Send Copies and Notice of Application

The applicant (developer) must send copies of the Application to the governing body with authority over land use planning in each city, town, or county in which the transmission line will cross. The developer must send additional copies of the Application to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the president of the public utility where the transmission line will be located. 52 PA. Code. §57.74(b). The applicant (developer) must send a notice of the Application to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation , the Chairman of the Historical and Museum Commission, and other state or federal agencies as necessary. Additionally, the applicant must make the Application available for public examination. 52 PA. Code. §57.74.

8-PA-a.9 to 8-PA-a.10 — Review Application Materials for Completeness

The PUC must review the Application for technical and administrative completeness.

8-PA-a.11 to 8-PA-a.13 — Publish Notice of Public Hearing

The PUC must determine the time and place for a public hearing. The developer has the responsibility of circulating notice of the hearing in newspapers within each affected municipality. 52 PA. Code. §57.75(a). The PUC must send notice of the hearing to all parties that received a copy or notification of the Application. Additionally, the PUC may allow an interested party to intervene in the proceeding. During the hearing the PUC accepts evidence for the present and future necessity of the transmission line, the safety of the line, the impact on the environment and the availability of alternative routes. 52 PA. Code. §57.75.

8-PA-a.14 to 8-PA-a.15 — Review Application Materials for Approval

The PUC must assess the Application for approval. The PUC has the authority to grant or deny the Application in whole or in part. In order to approve an Application the PUC must find:

  • There is a need for the transmission line;
  • The transmission line will not create an unreasonable risk of danger to the health and safety of the public;
  • The transmission line is in compliance with applicable statutes and regulations for protecting the state’s natural resources; and
  • The transmission line will have minimum environmental impacts.

52 PA. Code. §57.76(a).

8-PA-a.16 — Authorization to Locate and Construct Permit

The developer has authority to locate and construct transmission lines within a corridor of 500 feet on each side of the centerline of the proposed transmission line, unless deemed otherwise. 52 PA. Code. §57.76(b).

8-PA-a.17 — Appeal Decision (Optional)

A developer, or any interested party, may appeal an order from the PUC to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania . 52 PA. Code. §5.631. An interested party may petition to intervene in the proceeding if they are able to demonstrate “an interest which may be directly affected and which is not adequately represented by existing participants.” 52 PA. Code. §5.72(a)(2).

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