The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) called for construction of high-voltage transmission lines starting in West Virginia near the John E. Amos coal-fired power plant, which is ranked as one of the dirtiest coal plants in the country for mercury, sulfur dioxide, and CO2 pollution. The lines would have extended east for 275 miles, cutting through Virginia to end up in Maryland.
In their filing, Sierra Club and Earthjustice stressed that the proposed power lines are not needed to satisfy any unmet needs for electricity. Instead, the lines would only have given coal a greater market share of the power mix in the Northeast. According to a statement from the West Virginia Coal Association, the new lines would help "preserve the future" of aging coal plants, encourage development of new coal plants, and increase coal mining in Appalachia. All of this increased coal use would mean more dangerous air pollution and more environmental devastation from mountaintop removal mining, which already has transformed the landscape and historically rich natural system in West Virginia and Virginia, leveling and deforesting an area the size of Delaware and burying an estimated 1,200 miles of streams.
American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy decided to abandon their pending application for approval of the PATH project in Virginia after stiff opposition from Earthjustice and Sierra Club prompted the Virginia State Corporation Commission to order new analyses to assess the need for the power line in light of decreased electricity demand, significant efficiency gains, and a dramatic rise in the availability of demand side management resources over the past few years.