Thursday, June 13, 2013
Richard W. Davies, executive director of Department of Arkansas Parks & Tourism, recently sent a comment letter to the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) stating that it is “almost beyond comprehension” that SWEPCO’s proposed 345 kV power transmission line would go through some of the most scenic areas of the state.
“A 160-foot-tall power line stretching over 48 miles of the Ozarks will leave a lasting footprint no matter where it goes,” the letter from Davies states. “The route going through the middle of Eureka Springs presented as an option is almost beyond comprehension. The scenic quality of Arkansas, and especially the area this line would cross, is the number one reason people visit our state, spending $5.7 billion last year. Many of our citizens have moved to these scenic areas to avoid just this sort of intrusion. The State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission (SPRTC) would appreciate the Public Service Commission’s consideration of these concerns.”
At the May 15 meeting of the SPRTC Davies was directed to write to the APSC about the SPRTC’s concern with the proposed transmission line by SWEPCO running 48 miles from Centerton to the Kings River Station.
“Although the SPRTC is not in the position to establish the need for this project, they are chagrined by the impact it would have on one of the most scenic and historic areas in Arkansas,” Davies said. “Previously, our department has submitted comments to SWEPCO pointing out various publicly funded parks, scenic and historic areas that could be impacted by the route, which would be our routine function for projects such as this, if we had been notified, which we weren’t. We found out about the project from citizens of Eureka Springs, and subsequently contacted SWEPCO. We also notified the Pea Ridge National Military Park who has since expressed concerns dealing with not only the park, but the Trail of Tears.
“The various options presented by SWEPCO could have extremely adverse effects on Pea Ridge National Military Park, the historic and scenic town of Eureka Springs, Thorncrown Chapel, arguably one of the great architectural masterpieces in America, and scenic overlooks throughout the various routes. I think it was the SPRTC’s desire that the Public Service Commission rigorously examine the need for this project at all, and if it is necessary, then to insist on a route that would have the least impact on scenic, natural and historic resources in the area.”
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