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Power struggle: Transmission lines to run through properties in Northern Maryland

Posted at 4:56 PM, Jul 09, 2024

PARKTON, Md. — As a second-generation farmer, Brandon Troy knows quite a bit about growing crops and raising cattle, but he had no idea his North Acres Farm and adjoining land he and his wife recently purchased may lie directly in the path of high voltage power lines.

“What they basically want to do is come from over the hill there and come straight across everything, come across the crop land, across the wetlands and up in here to our pastures to basically cross us,” said Troy, “You couldn’t pick a wider swath through our farm.”

With an eye towards the future, a 70-mile transmission line capable of carrying 500,000 volts will run through Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick counties to boost the power grid.

At the first of a series of public information meetings, this one in Hereford, the energy company selected to perform the project collected information from land owners as it tries to narrow down the best route for the lines.

“We have criteria that we utilized that involves looking at wetlands, historical sites, all sorts of things and part of the feedback process is to make sure, ‘Hey, are there other things that we should be looking at? What are folks concerned about? What do they care about most?” said Project Director Jason Kalwa.

For Brandon Troy, it would be jeopardizing the future of his farm to help supply more power to a facility more than a hour’s drive from here.

“Your property value is going to go down as well,” said Troy, “We just paid good money for the farm, and now, as I say, less than a year in, your property value gets decreased just like that and you have no say in it. That’s a big thing.”

Once a route is selected, the developer will have to negotiate with the property owner over the value of the use of their land, and if they can’t agree, it can use the power of eminent domain.