- Protectors of the James River asked the Virginia Supreme Court to reverse the 2013 Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) decision allowing Dominion Virginia Power to build a 500-kilovolt transmission line connecting Surry and James City County across a part of the James River near historic Jamestown.
- Dominion said the new transmission meets a "critical" need and will avoid “cascading" power outages to Richmond, Northern Virginia and North Carolina. And, it argued, there will not be “undue impact” on the historic region.
- Dominion noted the project's opposition (James City County, Save the James Alliance, and the James River Association) does not challenge the SCC’s finding that a new source of electricity is needed due to the pending shuttering of the coal-burning Yorktown Power Station because of federal pollution regulations.
The opposition groups claimed the transmission towers will disrupt views. They argued state law requires the SCC to both find a need for electricity and to protect historic and environmental resources. The also argued the lines could be undergrounded.
Dominion said burying a 500-kilovolt line is not technically viable but splitting it into two 230-kilovolt lines that could be buried would increase the cost from $56 million to over $300 million, delay completion by years, and not provide adequate power.
Dominion also argued the SCC had weighed those factors and found for the crossing and said the lines will not be visible from Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, or the original Jamestown settlement.
“It is here that the first permanent English-speaking colony was established outside of the British Isles,” advocates report. “It was at this very point on the James that the first assembly of representative government took place in 1619.” Four of the 17 transmission towers are “taller than the Statue of Liberty,” it adds.