Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Nearly 50 groups ranging from WalMart to Save the Ozarks to the cities of Bentonville, Springdale, Cave Springs, Gateway and Garfield have filed as interveners in the application to the Arkansas Public Service Commission by SWEPCO for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for a 48-mile long high-voltage transmission line that would run through Carroll County.
Friday was the deadline for these groups to submit expert witness testimony for the proceedings. A few of the testimonies submitted are:
David W. McKee, president of the Arkansas Chapter, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), said Route 91 is the portion to which they strongly object. “AIA Arkansas, the AIA and Thorncrown Chapel feel that negative impact on one of the architectural treasures of our nation would be caused by the proximity of the transmission line so close to the Thorncrown property and within the direct field of view from the Thorncrown Worship Center,” McKee said. “This line would seriously detract from the natural setting from which the Chapel derives so much of its spiritual strength. The quality of life of Arkansans, and in fact the nation, would be compromised in that the potential transmission line would be detrimental to the experience of being in such a tranquil natural setting in a prayerful state of mind.”
In 2006, Thorncrown Chapel earned the 25-Year Award from the AIA, recognition reserved for structures that remain architecturally significant for a quarter of a century following their creation.
Sims Petitioners (Friends of the White River)
Patricia W. Helwig, Ph.D., a retired geologist/paleontologist, said routes AN-AO would cross the White River at “the only free-running reach of the river for 100 miles, a tiny chunk where you can fly fish for trout. It is an almost pristine preserved stretch of a great river, one of the last great places on the White River in Northwest Arkansas.”
“Our scenic, unspoiled river valley is one of our highest natural resources,” Helwig said. “It is not appropriate to have a three mile parade of 150-foot transmission towers and lines along routes AN and AO publicly visible from the US 62 bridge across the river up to Inspiration Point. I believe this would broadcast an ugly signal about the character of Arkansas development. For those who live here, construction of the power line and destruction of its corridor constitute an irretrievable assault on the visual impact of the scenic White River valley, and a severe blow to our tourist economy and residential values.”
City of Bentonville
David Wright, Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Bentonville, expressed great concern about the impact of Segment H of alternative route 91 (the blue route) on Bentonville’s park system that is part of the 36-mile Razorback Greenway.
“The cutting of a clear swath through this heavily wooded trail and public park would irreparably damage Bentonville’s trails, making it impossible to maintain a trail suitable for public use as designated in that location, thereby destroying a critical link the existing part and trail system, which is vital not only to the citizens of Bentonville but to the entire regional due to its widespread use and inclusion in the Razorback Greenway,” Wright said.
Barbara Reinsvold, owner of 50 acres on the Indian Creek Section of Beaver Lake
Reinsvold said Routes 62, 86 and 91 would pass directly through the property owned by her and her husband, Tom. “The part of our property where SWEPCO seems to want to exercise eminent domain is very steep,” Reinsvold said. “The top of the slope is primarily composed of limestone bluffs that give way to a very steep hillside.
“Neither the wash areas nor the steep hillsides are appropriate terrain for the construction of the towers. Many of our concerns stem from the consequences of clear-cutting a 150 ft. wide swath along this steep hillside and/or wash areas. Clear cutting raises several issues. The first problem centers on erosion. As the property currently exists, vegetation does much to prevent erosion. The forested property with its trees, plants, roots and decaying or fallen vegetation seems to disburse the water and slow it down as it travels toward the lake.”
She said the soil is so thin that continual erosion has caused large trees to topple with their roots intact. “The loss of additional soil due to clear cutting will only exacerbate this problem for any remaining vegetation,” she said. “We are very concerned about the potential damage that could be caused to Beaver Lake by erosion and pollution.”
Charles Chiasson, Garfield
Chiasson said he and his wife, Kathleene, purchased 28 acres near Garfield in 2012 with the intent of living there the rest of their lives. Part of their property would be taken for SWEPCO’s preferred route 33.
“We are very conscious about the foods we eat, striving to consume only wholesome, organic foods, much of which we raise ourselves,” Chiasson said. “To this end, we installed a large organic garden in which to raise our food. Exhibit CC-3 shows how close the right-of-way will come to our garden.”
Chiasson said since moving into the house and finding out about the proposed transmission line, they are hesitant to invest any money on any improvements on the house. “We are concerned the transmission line will lower the value of our home making it impossible to get back any investment in improvement to the house if we have to sell for any unforeseen reasons,” he said.
Chiasson said his wife is a cancer survivor, and they are very concerned about having a possible source of cancer located so close to their home.
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