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Supervisors approve Dominion Power substation in Dulles despite health concerns

Snapshot of Poland Road Substation
Despite concerns over health impacts, Loudoun supervisors approved on May 10 a commission permit for a 4.6-acre Dominion Virginia Power utility substation near Poland Road and Route 50.

Dominion said the substation is needed to meet increased demand for energy being driven by growth and nearby data centers.

“There are times when you are hesitant to vote for something, but you know, this one is really tough actually,” Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said before the final vote. “This one’s hard because … I am not convinced that there’s just no negative consequences to living that close to power lines that are this strong, but I also don’t have any foolproof data that there is.”

The substation sits about a quarter to a half mile away from homes in the Dulles area.

Critics have speculated that electromagnetic fields (EMF), which substations and power lines emit, cause cancer. However, the National Cancer Institute says there is no hard evidence of such.

County staff said there are no requirements for the county government to conduct any health impact or environmental studies prior to the approval of the substation.

Dominion, however, says it conducted an environmental and health impact study on the substation before it was approved.

“There’s, what, 65,000 transmission substations that are in the United States and another 210,000 distribution substations that are in the United States, so I don’t think there’s anything unusual about our project that I know about,” Dominion spokesman Chuck Penn told the Times-Mirror.

Penn explained they are required to submit EMF calculations and data to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) through the body’s application review process.

He also noted that Dominion takes concerns about EMF “very seriously.”

The approval of the substation followed a years-long fight between Loudoun County and Dominion, which was looking to locate power lines along Route 50 to serve a new data center.

After lengthy negotiations and lobbying, the county and Dominion were able to reach a deal to place the power lines on an alternative, less intrusive route.

Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles), who represents the area the substation is in, said he was not “enthusiastic” about making the motion to approve the application, but suspected nothing would change between that night and potentially moving it to a future business meeting for consideration.

“I would prefer that this entire project be elsewhere, but it is here, and particularly I would prefer that the power lines be elsewhere, but they are here, and so at some point you do the best you can with what you have,” Letourneau said.

The motion to approve the substation passed unanimously with Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) absent for the vote.

Comments


Many more votes like that Supervisor Letourneau and you won’t be here…


the conspiracy is more about the amount of electricity being carried by these high capacity lines = more powerful EMF = more mutations/illnesses/etc.


Electronic Magnetic Filed is not anything like radiation. Despite numerous studies, there is no evidence that Electromagnetic Fields cause cancer.  If it did then everyone that lived near a power line, slept with an electronic clock next to their bed or watched a television would have cancer.


There’s a minor chance of creating a super hero or super villain with these lines being so close to housing.  Worth it I say.


This is the definition directly from the National Cancer Institute:

“Radiation of certain wavelengths, called ionizing radiation, has enough energy to damage DNA and cause cancer. Ionizing radiation includes radon, x-rays, gamma rays, and other forms of high-energy radiation.”  https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation

So its really simple - will Dominion state in writing that to the best of their knowledge and research there is no ionizing radiation at or near their facility and if over time there is that they will hold harmless persons who have contracted cancer or lost real estate value due to such radiation?
Bob O__ Esq.


Perhaps a surprise for those who think data centers don’t affect our quality of life here in Loudoun…

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