Visitors to one of the Chesapeake's most significant landscapes near Historic Jamestowne and along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail could lose the historic and scenic views that help them imagine the time of English settlement there. On this page, you'll find a brief statement of a proposed transmission line project, a short background, and links to documents that provide explanation and analysis.
Dominion Virginia Power, a private utility company, is proposing to build an overhead electric transmission line across the James River within Virginia's "Historic Triangle." The proposed line would cross directly through one of our nation's most iconic historic landscapes, crossing over the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and within the viewshed of Historic Jamestowne, Colonial National Historical Park, Carter's Grove Plantation National Historic Landmark and many other nationally significant historic properties. The proposed line would cause irreversible damage to this important landscape that has been preserved for the past 400 years, severely marring the visitor experience and historic integrity of the area.
Dominion Virginia Power decided to close two coal-fired plants in Yorktown, VA which deliver electric power to the Hampton Roads peninsula. Among the many alternatives for delivering electric energy, Dominion selected a plan which would place 17 transmission towers up to 295 feet in height in the James River and applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In its consideration of the permit, the Army Corps must adhere to several federal laws such as the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The Army Corps is nearing the end of a multi-year process of meeting its obligations under federal law as it considers the permit application. The Army Corps can: deny the permit due to its impacts on federally recognized resources;grant the permit after an assessment determines there are no significant impacts to the human environment including natural, cultural, and historic resources;or delay a decision pending further evaluation through an Environmental Impact Statement.
The National Park Service is strongly opposed to the transmission line and its path as proposed by Dominion. NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis stated: "The proposed overhead line would mar the historic setting that represents the very beginnings of and the military defense of our nation…. It would set a precedent for additional development and cumulative effects. It would forever degrade, damage and destroy the historic setting of these iconic resources. This is not acceptable for resources designated by Congress to ensure their permanent protection."
The National Park Service is urging the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the permit for the proposed overhead line and to encourage Dominion Virginia Power to further examine the many other solutions available that do not impair this nation's natural, cultural, and historic resources.
On this page, you can find links to an overview of the project and NPS involvement, to significant documents that have been submitted or prepared by NPS, or that we think you might find useful. Several links to websites are also included in an effort to offer clear direction for resources to better understand this project and its effects. Choose from the list below. If there is something you'd like us to add, please email the manager of this webpage.
- Overview of the Proposed Transmission Line Project in the James River
- Project Overview with Graphics and Maps
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Letter from NPS Director Jarvis to USACE General Bostick
- Glossary of acronyms
- Section 106 compliance
- National Environmental Policy Act
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers information about the project