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Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line (TrAIL)

Public Service Commission of West Virginia
Case No. 07-0508-E-CN


Does TrAIL have the power of eminent domain? If the PSC grants the certificate of Public convenience and necessity, TrAIL will have the power of eminent domain and be able to condemn (take) private property for the power line right of way. TrAIL must pay a fair price for the land it takes.
W.Va. Code 54-1-2 states: "The public uses for which private property may be taken or damaged are as follows:...(b) For the construction and maintenance of telegraph, telephone, electric light, heat and power plants, systems, lines, transmission lines, conduits, stations (including branch, spur and service lines), when for public use....
Is the construction and operation of a power line considered a "public use" even if the power line is owned by a private, out-of-state corporation? The West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in a long line of cases stretching back to 1911 that construction and operation of a power line is a public use, regardless of the ownership of the line.
If I refuse to agree to sell a right of way and TrAIL has to condemn my property, does there have to be a full condemnation hearing before work can begin on the power line? No. Under W. Va. Code 54-2-15, a corporation can post a bond with the county court and proceed to take the property involved. A full hearing on the value of the property taken will be held at a later time.

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