Thursday, September 26, 2013
Lanny Nickel’s testimony in the Arkansas Public Service Commission hearing August 29 in Little Rock, told that Southwest Power Pool wants a huge Extra High Voltage (EHV) 345kV system to surround Northwest Arkansas, and just as reported months ago by members of Save the Ozarks, the Shipe Road to Kings River power line is part of that with additional parts to come up for APSC approval later. According to Nickel, SPP wants a robust system for “reliability.” The extra transmission capacity for them is just an unstated bonus that will give huge profits. They prefer not to talk about that.
In response to Save the Ozarks expert witness Dr. Hyde Merrill’s testimony, Nickel confirmed that the rationale proposed in the Notice to Construct issued by Southwest Power Pool is no longer a concern that would justify the project. But still SWEPCO and SPP have come up with additional reasons for the project, despite their old reason no longer holding water.
Nickel and SPP attorney Kaplan showed those reasons on a big map, illustrated in airbrushed red colors (very professionally done and so convincing to the Judge that she asked to keep it). That map showed areas of concern along the route east toward Harrison on the Entergy side of the seam between suppliers. Melinda Montgomery of Entergy, testifying earlier for SWEPCO, insisted there were and are no reliability concerns or problems on the Entergy side of the seam, but in all fairness, she did acknowledge that having such a robust line in the neighborhood would provide extra reliability that was not really necessary. If the hearing in Little Rock was indeed an evidentiary proceeding, and not simply a dog and pony show for the kids, someone will have to examine the conflicting evidence offered by SWEPCO.
If the Notice to Construct is the basis of the application and the reason is no longer valid, the application is false or in error and should be dismissed. If AEP/SWEPOC has new reasons, then let them apply again. And give us better warning next time instead of making a sneak attack.
When SWEPCO’s own witnesses dispute part of the new grounds presented by AEP/SWEPCO and Southwest Power Pool, and much of the information necessary to even evaluate the truth of Nickel’s testimony is kept from Save the Ozarks by SWEPCO’s and SPP’s refusals to respond to data requests, all parties, including the commission are kept in the dark. As long as we are purposefully kept in the dark, we have every reason in the world to distrust whatever conclusion the judge and commission arrive at that is not full and complete dismissal of the application.
Can folks see why all of us have been kept off balance by the process through which AEP/SWEPCO is attempting to claim eminent domain and destroy our properties, and damage the environment upon which the success of our tourist economy depends?
AEP/SWEPCO and the Southwest Power Pool came at us with very big plans to build a huge transmission system hauling wholesale power throughout Northwest Arkansas, and beyond, claiming it was for our own reliability... our own good. They do this by putting forward one small step at a time, hoping we don’t notice the full ugly effect, a process the US Army Corps of Engineers calls “piecemealing.”
If we don’t fight the Shipe Road to Kings River power line proposal, there will be more and more of these ugly projects all across North Arkansas and up through Missouri. Distributed power generation promises to save us from the ugly grid.
Go Solar and Save the Ozarks.
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