In the News

Dykema Secures Appellate Court Decision for International Transmission Company

Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms that Michigan Public Service Commission Has Right to Approve ITC Proposed Modification of Route Over Appellant’s Land

April 28, 2014

In a decision announced March 13, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the Michigan Public Service Committee (MPSC) had indeed operated within its authority when it approved International Transmission Company d/b/a ITCTransmission’s (ITC) proposed minor modification of an approved route for a 140-mile-long, double-circuit, 345,000-volt transmission line being constructed to enable Michigan’s wind potential in the Thumb Region (dubbed the “Thumb Loop Project”).

The MPSC concluded that ITC had authority to slightly modify the Thumb Loop Project’s route in order to avoid a wind turbine that had been approved for construction after ITC initially received MPSC approval for the Thumb Loop Project’s route. Appellant Murdock Trust, who owns the land where the turbine is located and where a portion of the Thumb Loop Project will be located, argued that the MPSC had no authority to approve ITC’s modification. The Court of Appeals rejected all of the Trust’s arguments. The Trust asked the Court to reconsider, and on April 25, 2014, the Court of Appeals denied the Trust’s request.

This ruling serves as an important confirmation of the MPSC’s authority and allows ITC to proceed with the Thumb Loop Project. When completed and put on-line in 2015, the Project will not only enable wind potential and serve as the backbone for future interconnection of new generation sources in the area, it will also increase transmission system reliability, reduce system congestion, and provide more efficient transmission of energy.

Lansing-based Dykema members, Shaun Johnson, whose practice focuses on public utility and energy issues, and Gary Gordon, whose practice focuses on regulatory matters and appeals, represented ITC in originally obtaining MPSC approval for the Thumb Loop Project, and also represented ITC in this appeal.

To read the Michigan Court of Appeals decision, click here.