• NPS Director Jarvis: Protect Jamestown from Threat of Power Line Disruption

    September 29, 2016

    photo by: James River Association

    Since declaring the James River a National Treasure, the Trust has worked hard to find alternatives to Dominion Power's efforts to construct new power lines, some as tall as the Statue of Liberty, within the historic triangle near Jamestown, Virginia.

    While much of our work has happened through meetings and hearings, we also conducted a month-long campaign to bring awareness to the issue to residents of the region as well as nationally. As the fight continues, we were pleased to see a column by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch earlier this week.

    Within in the column, Director Jarvis demonstrates that his support for the cause is personal:

    "Like any native-born Virginian, I like to tout my roots in the commonwealth. In the spring of 1620, the English ship Diana landed at Jamestown, and one of the 80 street kids who had been rounded up and shipped to the new land was John Jarvis. He survived the famine, and started a line of Jarvis families, who moved over the Blue Ridge in 1770 and into the Shenandoah Valley where I was born in 1953.

    In the fourth grade I learned my Virginia history, which is our nation’s history, starting at Jamestown with famous people like Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, Powhatan and John Rolfe. In high school I worked at Natural Bridge, learning of its survey by George Washington and ownership by Thomas Jefferson. I attended the historic College of William and Mary, deepening my appreciation for both history and nature, often spending time on the James and York rivers and following the new archeological discoveries at Jamestown. I know these experiences led me to a 40-year career with the National Park Service, where I now serve as the director."

    And he closes with a strong argument:

    "Jamestown has been nobly preserved by the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia for more than 400 years and in partnership with the National Park Service since 1940. Each successive generation of Virginians, as well as countless visitors from across the nation and around the world, have been able to stand on that sacred ground at Jamestown and look downriver, feeling the isolation and challenges our first citizens experienced.

    If the proposed power line moves forward, that historic view will be overrun with towers, power lines and blinking lights. There are other viable alternatives to the route of Dominion’s power line, but there is only one Jamestown, and we must protect it from this threat of permanent loss."

    Join Director Jarvis and the National Trust by pledging your support to protect the James River!

  • Support HB 908 and Stop the Power Lines!

    January 14, 2016

    The National Trust and our allies in the Down to the Wire campaign are still fighting to make sure that an alternative to Dominion Virginia Power’s proposal to build a high voltage transmission line across the James River at Jamestown is chosen. Federal and state permit decisions are still pending, as is a decision by James City County government on a requested zoning change, and the National Trust remains actively involved in these review processes.

    One permit that Dominion has been successful in securing was from Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC), the state agency responsible for regulating utilities. The National Trust participated in an attempt to appeal this permit approval at the Virginia Supreme Court. Ultimately, the court determined that the SCC satisfied state law requirements in making the decision to approve the route of the line over the James River. When Jamestown is not protected by state law, it is time to improve that law.

    This week HB 908 was introduced in the Virginia General Assembly. If passed, this bill would require the SCC to make a reasonable effort to avoid historic, scenic, and environmental resources. While this bill is too late to impact the James River fight, it would avoid the need to fight against destructive transmission line proposals in the future.

    It is critical that Virginia state law better protect its historic resources so that they are available for future generations to experience and enjoy. The National Trust for Historic Preservation believes HB 908 achieves this important goal. To learn more about the bill, please click here.

  • Another Success in Our Efforts to Save the James

    September 9, 2015

    On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, the James City County Planning Commission held an important public meeting to consider a land use request from Dominion Virginia Power. As a result of the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year, Dominion must obtain local zoning approval from James City County to construct a switching station to operate the proposed transmission line across the James River at Jamestown.

    At the meeting, the Commission voted against recommending approval of the permit. Your voices and participation in the meeting made this success possible.

    However, there is still much work to be done. Dominion’s permit request will next be reviewed by the James City County Board of Supervisors in an upcoming public meeting. We will continue to monitor this review process and hope that you will plan to join us at the next meeting.

  • Save the James. Stop the Power Lines! – More Information about Project Alternatives

    April 15, 2015

    In the past two weeks we’ve taken the Down to the Wire campaign on the road to Richmond and Williamsburg. We’ve met a lot of great people, and have had a chance to spread the word about the negative impacts that Dominion Virginia Power’s preferred transmission route would have on nationally significant historic sites, like Colonial Parkway, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, and Jamestown Island. In our discussions with people on the ground, we have received some general questions about the campaign, and about what alternatives are available that Dominion should consider. For more general information, please check out this FAQ.

    On the question of alternatives, it’s helpful to understand where this project stands in the legal review process. Before Dominion can build a transmission line across the James River, they must obtain a state permit from Virginia’s State Corporation Commission and a federal permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Currently, the issuance of the state permit is on appeal before the Virginia Supreme Court, and no decision has been made on the federal permit.

    During the state permit review process, James City County hired an electrical engineering firm to present testimony outlining alternatives to Dominion’s preferred route. The same firm updated their research and submitted comments in the federal permit review process. A copy of that letter summarizing some of the available alternatives is online here.

    Dominion still has the opportunity to pursue an alternative that protects the historic landscape of the James River at Jamestown. Please sign the petition to encourage Dominion to do the right thing.

  • Amicus Brief Filed before the Supreme Court of Virginia for James River

    September 19, 2014

    On September 15th, the National Trust, along with our partner groups the National Parks Conservation Association, Preservation Virginia, Scenic Virginia and the Garden Club of Virginia, filed an amicus brief. The brief supports the arguments made by James City County, Save the James Alliance, and the James River Association in their appeal of the State Corporation Commission’s decision to issue a state permit to build a transmission line across the James River near Jamestown.

    Our arguments focus directly on the richness and value of the historic resources along the James River that will be negatively impacted if Dominion Virginia Power builds their transmission line in its currently planned location. Further briefs will be filed in the coming weeks, and oral argument will likely be scheduled by the Supreme Court of Virginia to be held sometime later this year.

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