Thursday, April 25, 2013
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by the Eureka Springs Independent (ESI) to the Arkansas Public Service Commission revealed that APSC had not been notified of the names and addresses of property owners contacted by the Southwest Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) along six routes being considered for a proposed 48-mile, 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission line running from near Centerton in Benton County to north of Berryville near the Kings River.
APSC also had not received copies of the notice sent to landowners.
The FOIA request sent to APSC Staff General Counsel Valerie F. Boyce April 11 requested copies of public records including all emails, letters, records of telephone calls, documents and reports received by APSC and its staff from SWEPCO and/or its legal and/or contracted representatives that involve SWEPCO’s new transmission line application, a project listed as APSC Docket No. 13-041-U. Since they are already publicly accessible, any such records of the project posted online were not part of this request.
Initially Boyce wrote back that there were no public records that matched the request. The ESI responded by asking Boyce to confirm the following:
- SWEPCO has not informed the Arkansas Public Service Commission of the identities of property owners to whom SWEPCO sent notification of their proposal or provided APSC with copies of such notices to APSC; and
- APSC has neither sent nor received any emails, phone calls, faxes, text messages, letters or messages by other modes of communication related to the proposed SWEPCO project from or to SWEPCO.
“Yes, the response means that the Commission does not have any public records (other than the filed documents) which inform the Commission of the identity of the property owners and does not have copies of the notices; and that the Commission did not have any public records related to any communications listed by you,” Boyce responded via e-mail. “However, we now have some records in the form of emails concerning the docket which we did not have at the time I initially responded to you; as a courtesy, those emails are attached.”
Those emails include one dated April 17 that was an extensive data request from ASPC to SWEPCO asking, among other things, for a list of landowners provided notice, a list of state agencies provided notice, and copies of the notice letters.
Pat Costner, an organizer of Save the Ozarks that has banded together to oppose the power line, said failure to provide information about the notice letters and landowners contacted violated the APSC guidelines. Those guidelines also require the company applying for a permit show that reasonable alternatives have been considered.
The ASPC data request to SWEPCO also includes the following information that appear to be required by law:
- In accordance with A.C.A §23-18-511 (9) please provide the interstate benefits expected to be achieved by the proposed construction that is located in a national interest electric transmission corridor
- In accordance with A.C.A §23-18-519 (9) please provide information how the energy efficiency of the major utility facility has been given significant weight in the decision making process.
Other data requests included the following:
- Please provide any video of the proposed and alternate routes.
- It appears that the Kings River Station is to be interconnected with two Entergy 161 kV transmission lines that currently exist in the area, the Berryville – Osage Creek and the Grandview – Osage Creek lines. Is this interconnection also to be completed in the same June 2016 time frame?
- Are there any known future plans for interconnection or additional equipment to be installed in the Kings River Station that will require additional terminal positions?
- Please provide the locations of known future property developments that were considered in the routing of facilities described in the application.
Editor’s note: Information obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request reveals that the Southwest Electric Power Company plans “terrestrial visits” to property along proposed routes for a 48-mile high voltage transmission line in mid-May. Save the Ozarks organizers have provided a sample letter to property owners along the proposed routes who are concerned about trespassing on their property by SWEPCO and its representatives.
DATE Brian A. Johnson, P.E., PMP Project Manager Transmission Engineering & Project Services American Electric Power Service Corporation 212 E 6th Street, Tulsa, OK 74119-1295 Phone (918) 599-2056 Mobile (918) 527-5865 Fax (866) 947-0922 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: SWEPCO’s six routes filed in the Shipe Road to Kings River CECPN application and the terrestrial inspections set up for mid-May 2013
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Please be advised that as an owner of private property, where trespassing is not allowed, should you or anyone associated with the above referenced project wish to set up terrestrial inspections of said private property, written permission shall be required. We require minimum 30 business days advanced written notice to arrange such inspections. In addition, proper identification will be required and Hold Harmless Agreements must be signed by all entering the private property.
When we learned that you plan to conduct site visits on the properties for the purpose to condemn them for the Shipe/Kings line expansion, we felt that you have put us in a position to protect our property from trespassing with criminal intent. If you provide advance written permission to enter, formally request an appointment, sign the Hold Harmless and show proper ID, then we will make an appointment and allow an escorted entry to show you around our home and property and guide you to an understanding of its important features.
Thank you in advance for respecting our private lives and property. Our time and property is valuable to us, so please understand our concerns and request.
YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS HERE
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