“Save the Ozarks” Wins Power Line Battle Against SWEPCO
Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) withdrew its application on December 30, 2014 to build their controversial overhead 345kV transmission line through Carroll County and Benton County, Arkansas (Carroll County News).
RETA previously reported (July 24, 2013 Latest News) that residents, local governments and business groups opposed to this line, including the well-organized group Save the Ozarks (STO), had cited negative environmental, recreational, property value, health, economic (e.g., tourism), visual and quality of life impacts of the proposed overhead line. As well, Save the Ozarks and others had argued that the new line was not necessary, considering the significantly lower electricity demand than forecasted by SWEPCO and the Southwest Power Pool.
It appears that the facts presented by Save the Ozarks and others finally convinced SWEPCO and the Southwest Power Pool that the new line was not really necessary after all. It’s very likely that the project would have moved forward had Save the Ozarks not objected to it from the outset. “There’s no question that we stopped it”, said STO Director Pat Costner. “That’s inarguable.”
The successful conclusion to this particular battle is powerful encouragement to the many other battles against overhead high voltage transmission lines being fought by communities across North America. There are so many negative impacts of above-ground transmission lines; burying these lines essentially eliminates the negative impacts. In many other cases, new high voltage lines being proposed by transmission companies and electricity operators are not even necessary but, rather, are simply revenue-generating schemes by the highly profitable transmission industry.