Thursday, May 16, 2013
A panel of five people spoke to concerns about a proposed SWEPCO Shipe Road to Kings River high voltage power line at a public forum Wednesday night at the Auditorium.
Dr. Luis Contreras insisted there are “safer, sustainable and economic alternatives.” Contreras said cost of the power line estimated at nearly $117 million could actually be ten to 20 times that amount over the life of the line when it comes to repairs, maintenance, upgrades and lawsuits.
“Only SWEPCO and the lawyers profit,” he said. “Our economy can’t afford this.”
Rick Bost, a firefighter for 27 years, spoke about the hazards of fires from high voltage power lines that can be hit by tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms. He also said when the forests are clear-cut, often the debris is burned on-site to save money, creating fire hazards. When lines come down for any reason and start a fire, it puts volunteer firefighters’ lives at risk.
Bost showed videos from the Bastrop fire in Texas in caused by a tree hitting a power line. The fire – the largest in the history of the state – killed two people and destroyed 1,691 homes.
Professional nature photographer Edward Robison turned his lens on the beauty of the Ozarks, adding photo-shopped images of the power lines over photos he has taken of some of the most scenic areas among the different routes proposed by SWEPCO.
Crystal Ursin said she moved to the area for “peace and quiet, wildlife and wonderful people.” The power line would run directly in front of her home. She showed videos of fluorescent lights planted in the soil that lighted up from the leakage of power from the high voltage lines. “Electromagnetic fields are real,” Ursin said.
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