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Arkansas Construction and Business News

AR – Ozark Residents Oppose SWEPCO Power Lines

April 30, 2013

SWEPCO proposes to install a controversial 345 kV transmission line across parts of Benton and Carroll counties.

Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) has a proposal to install a new 345 kV transmission line across parts of Benton and Carroll counties. It includes a station northwest of Berryville, near the Kings River.

The company has approached the Arkansas Public Service Commission for permission and a request for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need was filed.

The landowners likely to be affected, have been informed of the proposal by certified mail. SWEPCO has given a public notice in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, but not in Carroll County News.

As per the proposal, the transmission line will start at Shipe Road station, west of Centerton in Benton County and then extend to a new Kings River station in Carroll County.

Six routes have been identified and the most preferred route of them will be along a line through both the Benton and Carroll counties.

The project has an estimated cost that ranges between $90,218,519 and $117,433,704 and the actual cost will depend on the route that gets the final approval.

If the route preferred by SWEPCO gets the regulatory nod, the project will cost $116,718,121.

Construction work for installation of lines will begin in March 2015 and the distribution line may join the grid by June 2016.

The ROW is planned at 150 feet, and towers will be between 130 and 160 feet tall.

The company says that variations in environmental impact of these alternative routes will be minimal but some local residents and environmentalists are opposing the transmission line as it would cut through important nesting areas for Bald Eagles and Herons and would contaminate the once pristine White River with herbicides. The White River is used for trout fishing and is the water supply of many people downstream.

Many believe that the old model of central power production and distribution over wide areas through high voltage transmission lines is obsolte and wasteful and that it is better to generate power locally from natural gas and renewable sources.

The money spent on the transmission line could instead pay for wind generators, solar panels, mico-biomass plants and natural gas turbines to serve local areas with far less negative impact on the environment.

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