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Preservation Groups File Lawsuit to Protect the Historic James River from Transmission Towers

August 3, 2017

Army Corps permit was granted without thorough assessment of impacts, alternatives

Jamestown, VA – Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the necessary federal permit to allow Dominion Energy to proceed with a highly controversial plan to build 17 transmission towers, some as tall as 295 feet, across the James River near Jamestown.

 In response, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Virginia have filed a lawsuit to ensure that legal, proper and reasonable steps are taken to protect this iconic place in American history by analyzing the project’s impacts and viable alternatives.

 The Army Corps granted Dominion’s permit without preparing a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). As required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an EIS would include a thorough review of reasonable alternatives, and a transparent public process and comment period.

 The project would directly harm Jamestown Island, Colonial National Historical Park, Colonial Parkway and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which collectively protect and interpret more than 400 years of our shared American history. It would also jeopardize the $1 billion annual travel and tourism industry, which supports local jobs and generates tax revenues that benefit the region and the state.

 The lawsuit was filed today in the US District Court for the District of Columbia with representation by the global law firm Dentons. It aims to require the Army Corps to complete a full assessment of the project, so that the region’s energy needs can be met while also protecting these historic places.

 “This project is poorly conceived and will severely degrade the history, economy, and legacy of the Historic Triangle region,” said Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “It’s also unnecessary. We know, and engineering experts have independently verified, viable alternatives exist that would meet the region’s power needs and protect this jewel of Virginian and American history.”

 “As a steward of Jamestown since 1893, we believe that a full and complete examination of alternatives will ensure that these irreplaceable historic, cultural and scenic resources are preserved,” said Elizabeth S. Kostelny, CEO of Preservation Virginia. “Congress designated the James River as America’s Founding River in 2007. We owe it to future generations to ensure all resources are properly evaluated and that all alternatives are exhausted.”

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About National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. SavingPlaces.org | @savingplaces

About Preservation Virginia
Preservation Virginia is a private, non-profit organization and statewide historic preservation leader founded in 1889 that is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and serving as an advocate for Virginia's cultural and architectural history. For more information visit preservationvirginia.org.

About Dentons
Dentons is the world's largest law firm, delivering quality and value to clients around the globe.   We are dedicated to serving the communities in which we live and work, and we remain committed to pro bono work and positive social impact. Dentons.com

Press Contact

Brittney Jubert
bjubert@preservationvirginia.org
804-648-1889 ext. 304

Andy Grabel
National Trust for Historic Preservation 
agrabel@savingplaces.org
202-588-6025