First Energy plans to connect power station in Derry, Ligonier with $60M project

LIGONIER, Pa. — A $60 million power project is coming to Westmoreland County.

First Energy plans to connect stations in Derry and Ligonier with a new stretch of power lines. There are four possible routes.

Wednesday, neighbors came out to a public information session in droves. Many have concerns about the project.

“It’s been my experience as recently as last week that when you have the big tower, transmission lines, it affects your cell phone service,” Gene Giernacky said. He lives along one of the proposed routes.

“I think the thing that is really unfortunate, that is upsetting to us and other people, is the timeline feels pretty rushed,” Dave Kemerer said. He and his wife Rosslyn live on a homestead along a proposed route.

The Kemerers are concerned about local wetlands and more.

“We’ve also done reforestation and native planting on our property that would be decimated by a power line,” Rosslyn said.

“I wouldn’t raise a family near transmission lines,” Dave said.

Channel 11 took their concerns to First Energy spokesman Will Boye.

“From our standpoint, there’s really no scientific evidence transmission lines pose a health hazard,” Boye said. “These routes were selected to minimize environmental impact.”

First Energy will select the route in the next few weeks.

Channel 11 asked neighbors what they would do if their route was picked.

“They’re going to do what they have to do. I agree that it needs done. I’ll have to live with whatever they come up with,” Gene said.

“We would be forced to sell,” Rosslyn said.

“Hopefully, First Energy would give us enough money to pick up our home and put it down somewhere else far, far away from transmission lines,” Dave continued.

First Energy plans to start the project in 2027 and finish sometime in 2028.

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