The Mountain State’s TRUSTED news source.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.


Learn more about HD Media

Appalachian Power will maintain rights of way for some power lines starting around July 1 by spraying 5,000 acres with herbicides from a helicopter.

The company has announced it will apply aerial herbicides across 17 counties in central and Southern West Virginia to manage vegetation in remote areas.

“The company generally makes aerial maintenance applications only in less populated areas where terrain and accessibility make it difficult for ground-based crews to safely clear rights of way,” Appalachian Power utility forester Travis Klinebriel said in a news release.

The utility maintains rights of way in populated areas and sensitive areas like parks and ponds by other means.

This year, Appalachian Power will use aerial herbicides on about 275 of roughly 2,500 miles of transmission lines, according to company spokesman Phil Moye.

“We’ve used this means of vegetation management for at least the last 50 years,” Moye said in an email.

But the responsibility of Appalachian Power to manage vegetation on tough terrain has increased over time, and so has scrutiny over the ecological and possible human health risks associated with certain herbicides.

Landowners willing to accept responsibility for clearing rights of way crossing their property in lieu of aerial herbicide spraying have the option of right of way maintenance agreements with Appalachian Power.

The agreement compensates the landowner by an amount equivalent to the cost of aerial herbicide application, given that the work meets Appalachian Power’s specifications.

Farmers who had the machinery to do it would clear rights of way crossing their property in years past, according to Moye. He said it’s less common for people to choose that option now.

One of the herbicides that Appalachian Power will use has sparked mass litigation about its effects on human health and the environment, including a recent federal lawsuit alleging that it caused a Greenbrier County resident’s cancer.

Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide in the world and is the main ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to label directions. The agency said last year that it identified limited glyphosate-related potential risks of concern for mammals and birds, and no potential risks of concern for fish or aquatic invertebrates.

But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 2015, classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.

Exploring the two agencies’ opposite conclusions on glyphosate classification, a 2019 study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Sciences Europe noted that the International Agency for Research on Cancer mainly relied on peer-reviewed studies in its analysis, while the Environmental Protection Agency mostly relied on industry-funded, unpublished regulatory studies in a 2016 evaluation of glyphosate.

In April, Lewisburg resident Roger Dean O’Dell filed a federal lawsuit against the Monsanto Company, the developer of Roundup, alleging that he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma because he was exposed to Roundup as part of his job as a greenskeeper and in his own personal endeavors over a span of at least 12 years starting in 2003.

Monsanto has asked that the complaint be dismissed.

The case was transferred from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to the Northern District of California, joining more than 3,000 lawsuits gathered together in multi-district litigation.

But concerns over aerial herbicide application have centered on spray drift, which the EPA defines as the movement of herbicide dust or droplets through the air at the time of application or soon after to any site other than the area intended. Spray drift can affect crops and water sources.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that pets might be at risk of digestive or intestinal problems if they touch or eat plants that have just been sprayed with glyphosate.

Other herbicides Appalachian Power will use are imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl, fosamine, triclopyr, aminocyclopyrachlor and aminopyralid.

Moye said Appalachian Power makes reconnaissance flights over the areas to be sprayed and does not apply herbicides if humans or domestic animals are visible in areas to be targeted.

Appalachian Power said complaints about possible damage resulting from herbicide applications should be made by contacting the company at its toll-free number, 1-800-642-3622, or by writing to Appalachian Power, Attn: Transmission Forestry, 404 29th Street, West, Charleston WV 25387. Complaints also may be directed to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Regulatory Programs Unit, which may be reached in Charleston at 304-558-2209.

Appalachian Power asked residents who have questions about the program or who want to alert the company to the location of sensitive areas near power lines like springs, wells, streams, lakes, ponds, orchards, crop areas, gardens, pastures, meadows, year-round dwellings, public recreation areas and Christmas tree plantations to contact the company.

Moye said the company sends news releases to print and broadcast news media, weekly notification to broadcast media in counties where it is working as the Department of Agriculture requires, and notification to people who have made a written request to the utility for special advance notification regarding its aerial spraying plans.

Some minimum spray distances per Department of Agriculture regulations for formulations not containing picloram or dicamba herbicides include 200 feet from tobacco fields and year-round flowing water, such as wells and springs, 150 feet from barns and public recreation areas, and 100 feet from residential structures, Christmas tree plantations, ponds, and cultivated and pasture lands.

The minimum spray distances don’t apply if greater distances are specified on the label of the spray product.

In 2014, Appalachian Power moved to a vegetation management system intended to boost electric power reliability, but its customers have had to endure longer and more frequent outages in recent years — some of the highest in the country among investor-owned utilities.

Moye previously noted that outages from all other causes besides trees from outside Appalachian Power rights of way have decreased since the company began its cycle-based vegetation management program in 2014.

But the company says outages caused by trees from outside their rights of way have more than offset improvements made in limiting outages from all other causes over that span.

In Kanawha County, the following lines are scheduled for maintenance:

  • Bancroft-Nitro 69 kV — A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Bancroft Station located on Route 817, south of Winfield, running south, passing the midpoint of Poca and ending at the Nitro Station off Route 52 in Nitro.
  • Belle-Cabin Creek No. 1 and No. 2 46 kV — A transmission line on wood towers beginning at the Belle Station and running south. The line, then on steel towers, runs southeast and parallels the West Virginia Turnpike, then turns north and ends at the Cabin Creek Station in Cabin Creek.
  • Cabin Creek-Toms Fork 46 kV — A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Cabin Creek Station, running south and crossing Dry Branch Road, the West Virginia Turnpike, Cabin Creek Road and Coal Fork Road and ending near the Cabin Creek Road and Decota Road intersection.
  • Toms Fork-Pax Branch 46 kV — A transmission line on wood structures beginning at Toms Fork Station, running east and southeast and ending just past the West Virginia Turnpike near Burnwell.
  • Clendenin-Cabin Creek 46 kV — A transmission line on wood structures beginning at Clendenin, running south and crossing Vent Fork, Left Fork, Leatherwood Road and Eds Fork Road and ending south of Wolf Pen Run at Structure 82.
  • Kanawha River-Lurich 345 kV — A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Kanawha River Plant, running south and passing near Gallagher, crossing the Kanawha-Fayette county line near Ash Branch and ending at Structure 55 near Rattlesnake Run.
  • Cabin Creek-Hinton 138 kV — A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Kanawha River Plant running south and southeast and passing Gallagher. The line then continues running southeast, crossing the Kanawha-Fayette county line and Elk Ridge Road and ending at Structure 34 just past Elk Ridge Road.
  • Clendenin-Flatwoods 138 kV — A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Clendenin Station off Reamer Road, running southwest, passing the midpoint at Elkview and ending at the Flatwoods Station, off McNabb Drive in Pinch.

Lines elsewhere in the state scheduled for maintenance include:

BOONE COUNTY

Becco-Skin Fork 46 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Becco Station off Buffalo Creek Road in Becco, running east and passing the midpoints of Amherstdale, Lundale and Three Forks and ending at the Skin Fork Station off Route 85.

Boone-Hopkins 46 kV – A transmission line on wood structures beginning at the Boone Station, running south and crossing Ridgeview Nellis Road, then running southeast and ending at Structure 24 near Easily Road.

CABELL COUNTY

Amos-Baker 765 kV – A transmission line, 58 miles long, on steel structures beginning at the Baker Station on Route 23 near Prichard, running northeast, passing the midpoints of Wayne, Culloden and Scott Depot and ending at the John Amos plant near Poca.

Culloden Loop 765 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at a structure point off the Amos-Baker 765 kV line near the Culloden Station on James River Turnpike near Culloden, running to the Culloden Station and continuing onward, ending at the Amos-Baker 765 kV line near Charleys Creek Road in Culloden.

Baker-Broadford 765 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Baker Station on Route 23 near Prichard, running south and passing the midpoint of Louisa, Kentucky and ending at the Big Sandy River.

Darrah-Tristate 138 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Darrah Station on Riverside Drive in Huntington, running west, passing the midpoint of Ceredo and ending at the Tri-State Station off Route 75 near Huntington Tri-State Airport.

Tristate-Belfonte 138 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Tri-State Station on Route 75 near Huntington, running west and passing the midpoint of the Huntington Tri-State Airport and ending at the Big Sandy River.

Leach-South Neal 69 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning near Route 52 south of Kenova, running north and ending at a switching structure located near Route 52 south of Kenova.

FAYETTE COUNTY

Kanawha River-Lurich 345 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Kanawha River Plant, running south and passing near Gallagher, crossing the Kanawha-Fayette county line near Ash Branch and ending at Structure 55 near Rattlesnake Run.

Cabin Creek-Hinton 138 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Kanawha River Plant, running south and southeast and passing near Gallagher. The line then continues southeast, crossing the Kanawha-Fayette county line and Elk Ridge Road and ending at Structure 34 just past Elk Ridge Road.

Elk Ridge Metering Tap 46 kV – A transmission tap line on wood towers off the Carbondale-Kincaid #1 circuit, running northwest for two miles and ending at Elk Ridge Station.

Brownsville Loop 69 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Brownsville Station and running northeast for one mile. The line then runs southeast and ends at Structure 50 near Route 16 in Brownsville.

Kincaid-TWR 117 69 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Kincaid Station, running east and crossing West Virginia Route 61. The line then turns southeast, paralleling and then crossing West Virginia Route 61 and ending at Structure 64 south of Wriston.

Kanawha River-Lurich 345 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Raleigh-Fayette county line between Blake Hollow and Hess Lively Road, running southeast and passing near Bradley and Beckley before crossing over I-64 and West Virginia Route 3. The line continues southeast, crossing the Raleigh-Summers County line and Bluestone River, passing near Pipestem and over West Virginia Route 20 and crossing the Summers-Mercer County line and ending at the West Virginia-Virginia state border.

GREENBRIER COUNTY

Hinton-Westvaco 138 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Hinton Station off County Route 13/1 hear Hinton, running northeast, passing Talcott and crossing the Summers-Monroe County line, continuing past Alderson and crossing the Monroe-Greenbrier county line. The line then continues running northeast, following the Greenbrier River and passing Ronceverte and White Sulphur Springs and ending at the West Virginia-Virginia state border.

JACKSON COUNTY

Leon-Ripley 138 kV – A transmission line on steel poles beginning at the Leon Station off Dunham Road, running east, passing the midpoint of Evans and ending at the Ripley Station off Klondyke Road in Ripley.

LOGAN COUNTY

Logan-Inez 138 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Logan Station, running west, crossing the midpoints of Dingess and Lenore and ending at the Lovely Station off Route 52 in Kermit.

Becco-Skin Fork 46 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Becco Station off Buffalo Creek Road in Becco, running east and passing the midpoints of Amherstdale, Lundale and Three Forks and ending at the Skin Fork Station off Route 85.

Mud Fork-Holden 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Holden, running southeast and crossing State Route 73. The line then turns west to the Mud Fork Bridge on US 119, then runs southeast crossing the hill and ending at Aldridge Branch.

Mud Fork-Holden 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Holden and running southwest along US Route 119. The line then splits. One line runs southwest and ends at Hidden Cove. The other line runs northeast and ends at the Logan Public Service District water tank including the Southeast Regional Jail.

Mud Fork-Fountain Place 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Mud Fork Station, running northwest over the hill and ending at Fountain Place.

Stone Branch-Harts 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Stone Branch Hollow, running southeast, passing Julia Avenue and ending at the Park and Ride in Chapmanville.

Stone Branch-Big Creek 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Stone Branch Hollow, running east over the hill and ending at Vickers Branch.

Stone Branch-Chapmanville 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at the Park and Ride in Chapmanville, running north over the mountain and ending at Kanawha Branch.

North Point-Pecks Mill 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Chapmanville and running southeast, passing Rhonda Drive and Fowler Branch and ending at Phico.

Logan-Main Street 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Locust Street, running northeast and ending at the WLOG FM radio tower at the top of the hill.

Logan-Aracoma 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Ward Rock, running east and ending at the communication towers.

MASON COUNTY

Leon-Ripley 138 kV – A transmission line on steel poles beginning at the Leon Station off Dunham Road, running east, passing the midpoint of Evans and ending at the Ripley Station off Klondyke Road in Ripley.

Sporn-Kanawha River 345 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Sporn Plant, running south and crossing West Creek west of Letart. The line then continues south, crossing Clay Lick Run Road, Chestnut Ridge Road, County Route 2, Little Mill Creek Road, Red Mud Road and County Route 87 and ends at Structure 72 east of Kapp Ridge Road.

MCDOWELL COUNTY

Jim Branch-Wyoming 138 kV – A transmission line on wood poles and steel towers beginning at the Jim Branch Station near Coalwood, running north and passing near Welch, Hemphill, Capels, Fan Rock, Baileysville and Clear Fork and ending at the Wyoming Station on Reedy Creek near Lynco. This also includes a tap line on wood poles serving the Welch Station.

Wyoming-Baileysville-Jim Branch 138 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Wyoming Station, running southeast along West Virginia 197, crossing Guyandotte River and ending at the Baileysville Station.

Iaeger-Wharncliffe 138 kV – A transmission line on steel towers and wood poles beginning near Four Pole Road at the McDowell-Mingo county line, running southeast and crossing Tug Fork and Johnny Cake Road and ending off Water Street, County Route 102/35 and Tug Fork.

MERCER COUNTY

Kanawha River-Lurich 345 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Raleigh-Fayette county line between Blake Hollow and Hess Lively Road, running southeast and passing near Bradley and Beckley before crossing over I-64 and West Virginia Route 3. The line continues southeast, crossing the Raleigh-Summers County line and Bluestone River, passing near Pipestem and over West Virginia Route 20 and crossing the Summers-Mercer County line and ending at the West Virginia-Virginia state border.

MINGO COUNTY

Logan-Inez 138 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Logan Station, running west, crossing the midpoints of Dingess and Lenore and ending at the Lovely Station off Route 52 in Kermit.

Sprigg-Rawl Sales 12 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Sprigg Station, running northwest and ending at Rawl Sales Prep Plant.

Sprigg-Matewan 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Warm Hollow, running northeast and ending at the communications tower.

Sprigg-Matewan 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at the Matewan Station, running east, crossing the Tug River and ending at Surosa near Hatfield Bottom.

Dingess-Dingess 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at the Dingess tunnel, running southwest over the hill and ending at the Laurel Creek side of the tunnel.

Ragland-Delbarton 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Myrtle, running southeast over the hill and ending at Bias.

MONROE COUNTY

Hinton-Westvaco 138 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Hinton Station off County Route 13/1 hear Hinton, running northeast, passing Talcott and crossing the Summers-Monroe County line, continuing past Alderson and crossing the Monroe-Greenbrier county line. The line then continues running northeast, following the Greenbrier River and passing Ronceverte and White Sulphur Springs and ending at the West Virginia-Virginia state border.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Amos-Baker 765 kV – A transmission line, 58 miles long, on steel structures beginning at the Baker Station on Route 23 near Prichard, running northeast, passing the midpoints of Wayne, Culloden and Scott Depot and ending at the John Amos plant near Poca.

Culloden Loop 765 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at a structure point off the Amos-Baker 765 kV line near the Culloden Station on James River Turnpike near Culloden, running to the Culloden Station and continuing onward and ending at the Amos-Baker 765 kV line near Charleys Creek Road in Culloden.

Bancroft-Nitro 69 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Bancroft Station located on Route 817 south of Winfield, running south and passing the midpoint of Poca and ending at the Nitro Station off Route 52 in Nitro.

RALEIGH COUNTY

Bradley-Layland #1 69 kV – A transmission line on steel and wood poles beginning at the Bradley Station off Blue Circle Ranch Road, running east and passing the midpoint of Prince and ending at the Layland Station near the Layland Church and the Route 41 crossing.

Bradley-Layland #2B 138 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Bradley Station off Blue Circle Road Road, running northeast and crossing West Virginia Route 61, Garden Ground Mountain and the New River and ending at Molly’s Creek Station off Beury Mountain Road.

Bradley-Tams Mountain 46 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Bradley Station near Bradley and running southwest, passing near Prosperity, Eccles, Shockley and Glen White and ending at the Tams Mountain Station on Tams Mountain.

Bradley-Tams Mountain 138 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Bradley Station and running southwest to the Route 19 crossing near Prosperity, passing Crab Orchard and Eccles and ending at the Tams Mountain Station on Tams Mountain.

Dameron-Leewood-Sundial 69 kV – A transmission line on steel towers and wood poles beginning at the Dameron Station near Dameron and running northwest, passing near Workman Creek, Ameagle, Dorothy, Packville, Marfork, Pettus and Eunice and ending at the Sundial Station near Sundial.

Kanawha River-Lurich 345 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Raleigh-Fayette county line between Blake Hollow and Hess Lively Road, running southeast and passing near Bradley and Beckley before crossing over I-64 and West Virginia Route 3. The line continues southeast, crossing the Raleigh-Summers County line and Bluestone River, passing near Pipestem and over West Virginia Route 20 and crossing the Summers-Mercer County line and ending at the West Virginia-Virginia state border.

Cherry Creek-Clifftop 138 kV – A transmission line on steel poles beginning at the Clifftop Station off Scott Ridge Road, running south and crossing Airport Road and U.S. 19/WV 3 near Daniels, passing Shady Spring Mountain and ending at Cherry Creek Station near Marshall Circle.

SUMMERS COUNTY

Kanawha River-Lurich 345 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Raleigh-Fayette county line between Blake Hollow and Hess Lively Road, running southeast and passing near Bradley and Beckley before crossing over I-64 and West Virginia Route 3. The line continues southeast, crossing the Raleigh-Summers County line and Bluestone River, passing near Pipestem and over West Virginia Route 20 and crossing the Summers-Mercer County line and ending at the West Virginia-Virginia state border.

Hinton-Westvaco 138 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Hinton Station off County Route 13/1 hear Hinton, running northeast, passing Talcott and crossing the Summers-Monroe County line, continuing past Alderson and crossing the Monroe-Greenbrier county line. The line then continues running northeast, following the Greenbrier River and passing Ronceverte and White Sulphur Springs and ending at the West Virginia-Virginia state border.

WAYNE COUNTY

Amos-Baker 765 kV – A transmission line, 58 miles long, on steel structures beginning at the Baker Station on Route 23 near Prichard, running northeast, passing the midpoints of Wayne, Culloden and Scott Depot and ending at the John Amos plant near Poca.

Culloden Loop 765 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at a structure point off the Amos-Baker 765 kV line near the Culloden Station on James River Turnpike near Culloden, running to the Culloden Station and continuing onward and ending at the Amos-Baker 765 kV line near Charleys Creek Road in Culloden.

Baker-Broadford 765 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Baker Station on Route 23 near Prichard, running south and passing the midpoint of Louisa, Kentucky and ending at the Big Sandy River.

Darrah-Tristate 138 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Darrah Station on Riverside Drive in Huntington, running west, passing the midpoint of Ceredo and ending at the Tri-State Station off Route 75 near Huntington Tri-State Airport.

Tristate-Belfonte 138 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Tri-State Station on Route 75 near Huntington, running west and passing the midpoint of the Huntington Tri-State Airport and ending at the Big Sandy River.

Leach-South Neal 69 kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning near Route 52 south of Kenova, running north and ending at a switching structure located near Route 52 south of Kenova.

Lovely 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Stonecoal, running northwest and ending at Jennies Creek.

Lovely 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Right Fork of Bull Creek, running northwest and ending at Cotton Hill.

Lovely 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning at Webb Road at the tunnel, running northwest and ending at the abandon tunnel.

Lovely 34.5 kV – A distribution line on wood poles beginning on the lower end of Webb Road, running northeast and then west and ending on US 52.

WYOMING COUNTY

Trail Fork-Trail Fork Switch 138 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at a switching structure off Route 16 north of Welch, running north and ending at the Trail Fork Station off Route 75 near Huntington.

Jim Branch-Wyoming 138 kV – A transmission line on wood poles and steel towers beginning at the Jim Branch Station near Coalwood, running north and passing near Welch, Hemphill, Capels, Fan Rock, Baileysville and Clear Fork and ending at the Wyoming Station on Reedy Creek near Lynco. This also includes a tap line on wood poles serving the Welch Station.

Wyoming-Baileysville-Jim Branch 138 kV – A transmission line on steel towers beginning at the Wyoming Station, running southeast along West Virginia 197, crossing Guyandotte River and ending at the Baileysville Station.

Bolt Extension 46 kV – A transmission line on wood and steel poles beginning at the Bolt Station near Trough Fork Road, running southeast and ending approximately 200 yards after crossing Glen Rogers Road.

Reach Mike Tony at

mtony@hdmediallc.com,

304-348-1236 or follow

@Mike__Tony on Twitter.

Recommended for you