Watch CBS News

New powerlines being built across several Maryland counties stir concern from residents

Residents fired up over plan to build new transmission lines over several counties
Residents fired up over plan to build new transmission lines over several counties 03:05

BALTIMORE - An environmentally-focused upgrade to Maryland's electric grid will require more than 70 miles of overhead powerlines across several counties.

The Maryland Piedmont Reliability Project will connect an existing transmission line in northern Baltimore County, and pass through Carroll County and into southern Frederick County.

Why new powerlines?

The proposed project is supposed to help alleviate the growing strain on the region's power grid.

However, residents say they aren't on board with this project. Those who attended Tuesday's informational meeting told WJZ they didn't like what they heard and they had no idea this project was in the works.

Residents are also worried about the impact on their property and lives.

"It's absolutely infuriating," Baltimore County resident Gail Meerdter said. 

Frustrations were high inside the Hereford Volunteer Fire Station where the meeting was held detailing proposed plans that would run 70 miles of new overhead power lines across three counties.

"I don't want to see this anywhere," said Lisa Carton, owner of Black Locust Farm Brewery. 

Where will the new powerlines go?

But maps show the new lines will pass through farmland and areas like Gunpowder Falls State Park and Prettyboy Reservoir.

"I'm an organic farmer, it would take out several of my fields, and with the powerlines, they spray so that would eliminate my ability for my farm to be an organic farm," said farmer Charlotte Hetterick.

Company officials tell WJZ the project is essential to reduce the growing strain on the regional power grid.

Everyone's opinion is being taken into consideration.

"Were excited the turnout has been tremendous," said project director Jason Kalwa. "We got a lot of feedback that we will be taking back to incorporate into the route." 

Residents say they want the lines to piggyback off existing power lines, saying the environmental impact goes beyond the grid.

"The only way we're going to beat this thing is community and we need to fight it," Leigh Finney said. 

Additional community meetings planned

The company plans to hold more meetings this week in Westminster and Brunswick.

Frederick County

Brunswick Volunteer Fire Company
1500 Volunteer Drive
Brunswick, Maryland 21716

July 10, 2024
Session #1:  2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Session #2:  6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Carroll County

Westminster Senior
& Community Center
125 Stoner Avenue
Westminster, Maryland 21157

July 11, 2024
Session #1:  2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Session #2:  6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.