본문 바로가기
  • Home

Undergrounding of Transmission Lines and Eminent Domain in the U.S.

  • Public Land Law Review
  • Abbr : KPLLR
  • 2017, 78(), pp.37-68
  • Publisher : Korean Public Land Law Association
  • Research Area : Social Science > Law

Soon Chul Huh 1

1경남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The conflicts and confrontations between Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and the local residents surrounding the power towers and the transmission lines in the so-called “Miryang Transmission Tower Case” has been increasing public concerns over underground transmission line. The line draws public attention as a remedy for the problems arising from installing overhead transmission line, including but not limited to, limitation on the use of land due to power tower and cable, devaluation of the property, negative aesthetic impacts and adverse effects of electromagnetic fields. In the U.S., power companies have installed almost all power transmission lines overhead due to high cost of installation and difficulty of maintenance, except for urban area with high dense population and residential area that are not suitable for the installation of overhead transmission line. In general, every State authorizes public utility commission or siting council to permit underground transmission line project. Although the process of permitting installation of transmission line, overhead or underground, varies state to state, public utility commissions usually consider the factors such as necessity of installation, impact on reliability, and evaluation of environmental impact, etc. When a proposed project for underground transmission line is approved, a utility usually purchases the property concerned or establishes easement on it in order to obtain right-of-way that enables the utility to build the transmission line and to use the land for maintenance purposes. Then, when the utility fails to obtain easement through negotiations with landowners, the utility exercises eminent domain power to get easement by paying fair market value. In the meantime, it is not scientifically proved that electromagnetic fields cause disease including childhood leukemia, the courts usually order to compensate for the devaluation of the property caused by the fear of the electromagnetic field. According to an empirical study, overhead transmission line causes a 10 percent or so decrease in value, but, until now, there is no literature about how much underground transmission line lowers real estate value. In sum, in the U.S., state’s public utility commission regulates project for undergrounding transmission lines, and courts, state-appointed commission or jury decide what is just compensation for the property to be condemned according to appraisals’ valuation of the property.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.