Utility Work Exemption from Development/Transmission Line Siting (Oppose – Preemption)

Utility Work Exemption from Development/Transmission Line Siting (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 494 (Lee, T.) and HB 405 (Williamson) amend the exemptions from current law “development” and revises statutory provisions applicable to transmission line and power plant siting.  "Development,” as defined in state law, must comply with various state and local regulations, including local government comprehensive plans and development permits. There are various exemptions from the statutory definition of development, including an exemption for work by any utility engaged in transmission and distribution on established rights of way to construct pipes, cables, power lines, poles, etc. The bills specify this exemption also applies to rights of way and corridors yet to be established, and to the creation of distribution and transmission line corridors. The bills also specify the standard to be used in authorizing variances in a site certification under the Power Plant Siting Act and Transmission Line Siting Act.  Finally, the bills provide that the Siting Acts cannot affect the Public Service Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction to require transmission lines to be located underground. (O’Hara)