Scroll down to see our brief but busy history of less than two years.
Year in Review – 2013
- Around April 1, SWEPCO notified almost 1,000 Ozark landowners that their properties lie in the path of one or more of six possible routes for a 345 kV transmission line the utility will construct if the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) approves the investor-owned utility’s plan.
- April 9 – A small group of people came together as Save the Ozarks (STO), an all-volunteer citizens’ organization that opposes SWEPCO’s entire plan, including all six routes under consideration for the transmission line.
- April 11 – STO held its first public meeting at The Space in Eureka Springs with more than 100 people attending.
- The Southwest Power Pool and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation filed petitions to intervene in the APSC proceeding, noting their support for SWEPCO’s proposed project.
- STO retained attorney Richard Mays to file a petition to intervene in the APSC proceedings on SWEPCO’s proposed project.
- STO’s first expert witness, Dr. Hyde Merrill, a transmission line planner, was hired.
- April 19 – STO held a public meeting in the Auditorium to discuss SWEPCO’s proposal and STO’s commitment to opposing the entire plan, with 100-150 concerned citizens attending.
- STO’s website and Facebook page were launched, mailing list initiated, and fundraising begun.
- April 29 – STO submitted a petition to intervene in the APSC proceeding for SWEPCO’s proposed project, listing 34 participants on the petition.
- May 3 – STO submitted a supplemental list of 26 participants in its petition to intervene.
- May 13 – STO director Pat Costner spoke to the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce about SWEPCO’s proposed project.
- STO retained Tom Aley, Principal Hydrogeologist at the Ozark Underground Laboratory in Missouri, as an expert witness.
- May 20 – STO director Pat Costner spoke to a meeting of the Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District about SWEPCO’s proposed project.
- May 21 – APSC Presiding Officer Connie Griffin granted STO’s petition to intervene with certain limitations.
- May 25 – APSC’s Presiding Officer approved the schedule for the proceedings on SWEPCO’s application.
- May 26 – STO submitted a reply to APSC staff’s response to STO’s petition to intervene.
- May 30 – STO filed a motion for clarification for clarification of the limits placed on STO’s participation.
- STO held a candlelight vigil in Basin Park.
- Rally held at the Pied Piper.
- Volunteers staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at White Street Walk.
- STO retained Mick Harrison as lead counsel with Gregory Ferguson as co-counsel and GreenFire Consulting Group as paralegal support, and Richard Mays withdrew.
- STO hired Dr. Richard Smardon as expert witness in visual impacts assessment.
- SWEPCO and the Southwest Power Pool filed motions for a protective order of non-disclosure.
- June 13 – The APSC Presiding Officer responded to STO’s reply and motion for clarification with an order that effectively allowed STO full participation.
- Intervenors Julia R. Neighbors Revocable Trust and Trustees filed a motion to dismiss SWEPCO’s application.
- June 28 – STO submitted direct testimony by Dr. Hyde Merrill, Tom Aley, Dr. Richard Smardon, Pat Costner, Doug Stowe, Mike Bishop, James DeVito, Gerri Hamby, Errol Severe, Richard Quick, David Dempsey and Susan Storch.
- Volunteers staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at Xterra Bike Race.
- STO won blue ribbon as best walking entry in 4th of July Parade.
- July 9 – STO director, Pat Costner, spoke to the Lions Club of Eureka Springs and Holiday Island about SWEPCO’s proposed project at Forest Hill Restaurant.
- July 11 – STO director, Pat Costner, spoke to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship about SWEPCO’s proposed project.
- July 15-18 – Hundreds of people spoke in opposition to SWEPCO’s transmission line at APSC’s Public Comment Hearings in Eureka Springs and in Rogers.
- July 25 – Pat Costner and Doug Stowe of STO participated in panel discussion at Berryville public meeting on SWEPCO’s proposed project.
- DeVito’s Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser.
- August 7 – STO filed surrebuttal testimony by Dr. Hyde Merrill, Tom Aley, Dr. Richard Smardon, Pat Costner, and Douglas Stowe.
- August 13 – The APSC Presiding Officer ordered the removal of Routes 62, 86, and 92 from the list of considered routes.
- August 16 – STO filed a motion to dismiss SWEPCO’s application or for summary judgment or, in the alternative, for continuance, and a motion to compel responses to data requests.
- August 16 – STO attorney Gregory Ferguson and Pat Costner attended the APSC pre-hearing conference in Little Rock.
- August 20 – The APSC Presiding Officer established the order of appearance of parties for the hearing in Little Rock, listing STO as the first opposition intervenor to appear.
- August 26-30 – STO’s legal team, witnesses and supporters participated in and/or attended the APSC hearing in Little Rock.
- Volunteers staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market.
- Rockin’ Pig Fundraiser with Mountain Sprout.
- September 6 – STO held a public meeting at the Eureka Springs Auditorium to recap Little Rock hearing.
- September 24 – STO director Pat Costner spoke to the Berryville Rotary Club about SWEPCO’s proposed project at the Berryville Fire Station.
- The APSC Presiding Officer ordered STO and SWEPCO to file briefs on (1) the need for the facilities; (2) the legal sufficiency of the Environmental Impact Statement; and (3) sufficiency of the analysis of the economic impact on the applicant and local community.
- More than a hundred Northwest Arkansas artists and craftspeople donated their work to benefit STO at the Caribe Fundraiser and Auction, where Gaskins Switch and Maureen Alexander gave gratis performances.
- Volunteers staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at Eurekapalooza.
- STO’s motion to compel response to discovery requests was denied.
- SWEPCO filed a motion to “conform the pleadings to the proof,” asking for its application to be retroactively amended to include written and oral testimony by its expert witnesses as the “statement of need and reasons for construction of the facility.”
- STO and other parties filed “Findings of Fact” and briefs as ordered by the APSC Presiding Officer.
- October 1 – STO Power News, a biweekly news aggregate, was launched.
- Fresh Harvest Rummage Sale.
- Legends Halloween Fundraiser.
- November 18 – The APSC Presiding Officer declared the hearing on SWEPCO’s application to be concluded and the record closed.
- For her work with Save the Ozarks, Pat Costner was named Woman of the Year by the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce.
- Local newspapers name Save the Ozarks and the SWEPCO proposal as story of the year.
Year in Review – 2014
- January 17 – The APSC Presiding Officer approved SWEPCO’s application to construct and operate the Shipe Road – Kings River 345 kV transmission line and the Kings River substation, and declared the “best route” for the line to be Route 109, which traverses southern portions of Barry and McDonald Counties in Missouri.
- January 21 – The APSC Presiding Officer issued and “errata order,” stating that “Route 33 and 108 are unreasonable, and Route 109 is the only reasonable route.”
- January 30 – STO held a public meeting to discuss the APSC’s approval of SWEPCO’s Shipe Road-Kings River project and selection of Route 109, with 100-150 concerned citizens attending.
- February 13 – Tom Aley, noted hydrologist, geologist and founder of the Ozark Underground Laboratory, presented a program about the fragile nature of karst geology that underlies much of the Ozarks to a large audience at the Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center. The Ozark River Stewards arranged his visit.
- March 1 – STO took part in the Eureka Springs Mardi Gras Parade.
- March 14 – SWEPCO filed a petition for limited rehearing, asking the APSC to grant its application but to approve a modified Route 33 rather than Route 109, and seeking clarification on several other aspects of the APSC order granting the application.
- March 18 – STO filed a petition for rehearing on the APSC’s decision to approve SWEPCO’s application.
- Save the Ozarks supporters met a Matching Grant Challenge of $5,000 in just 25 days. The challenge was conducted entirely online.
- April 10 – For the purpose of further consideration, the APSC granted the petitions for rehearing submitted by both STO and SWEPCO.
- April 22 – STO volunteers celebrated Earth Day by cleaning trash on the Highway 62 and staffing STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table in Basin Park. The Eureka Springs Downtown Network and the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce coordinated the event.
- May 4 – Save the Ozarks supporters marched in the ArtRageous Art Parade in Eureka Springs.
- June 7 & 8 – Volunteers staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at the Xterra Bike Race.
- June 9 – The Commission vacated its approval of SWEPCO’s project, including its selection of Route 109, and granted rehearing for consideration of additional evidence.
- June 26 – State Senator Bryan King and State Representative Bob Ballinger hold a public forum to discuss SWEPCO’s proposed transmission line project. Event held at the Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center, Eureka Springs with STO board member, Doug Stowe, and STO director, Pat Costner, making introductory remarks and moderating the evening’s presentation.
- July 3 – SWEPCO informed the Secretary of the Commission that 1) the comprehensive re-evaluation ordered by the Commission will be conducted by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) according to SPP’s schedule and is expected to be completed at the end of January 2015; and, after SPP’s process is completed, 2) SWEPCO and other parties can agree on a procedural schedule to propose to the Commission.
- July 4 – Save the Ozarks supporters participate in the Eureka Springs 4th of July parade.
- July 10 – Volunteers staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at the Eureka Springs Farmers Market.
- July 27 – Volunteers staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at the Bentonville Farmers Market.
- July 29 – STO responded to SWEPCO’s letter by asking the Commission to deny SWEPCO’s application and close the docket or, in the alternative, order SWEPCO to reimburse STO and other intervenors for experts’ and attorneys’ fees going forward, while 1) allowing STO and other intervenors the same amount of time for reviewing SWEPCO’s and SPP’s new studies as that required for their completion, an estimated 6-7 months, or 2) directing SWEPCO and SPP to provide STO and other intervenors all relevant materials as the 6-7 month study proceeds and to allow certain STO representatives to participate in the reevaluation.
- August 2 – STO’s Pat Costner, Jean Elderwind, Faith Shah, and Michael Shah participated in a Stop SWEPCO meeting in Garfield.
- August 19 – Pat Costner of STO spoke to a meeting of the Crye-Leike Realtors in Bentonville about the SWEPCO proposal.
- September 8 –STO’s Pat Costner, Michael Shah and Faith Shah discussed the status of SWEPCO’s proposal at the First Presbyterian Church Men’s Breakfast at the Eureka Inn.
- September 10 – STO board members, Doug Stowe and Michael Shah, accompanied by Faith Shah, gave the Eureka Springs Rotary Club an update on the SWEPCO proposal.
- September 20 – STO’s Doug Stowe explained the SWEPCO proposal to the Ozark Area Community Congress Convention in West Plains, Missouri.
- September 26 — Smiling Brook Cafe held a benefit concert for STO, featuring the “Hoot n Annies.” Great music, wonderful food and fine company.
- Beginning in May of 2013 through the present, volunteers have staffed STO’s STOP-SWEPCO information table at Eureka Springs Farmer’s Market, which is held biweekly.
- From April of 2013 through the present, more than 6,000 comments opposing SWEPCO’s proposal have been submitted to the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s Public Comment Page for this docket, Docket 13-041-U.
- From April of 2013 through the present, hundreds of people have given donations for STO t-shirts, yard signs, bumper stickers, buttons, earrings, and tree ornaments, which are available at Caribe, DeVito’s, Sweet Springs Antiques, The UPS Store, and Geographics.
- Billboards and banners displayed throughout the Ozarks Highlands.
- From April of 2013 through the present, STO and SWEPCO’s proposal have been featured in hundreds of articles in local, state, regional, and national news media – newspapers, magazines, radio and television news shows, web blogs, and e-news sites.
- From April of 2013 through the present, hundreds of people have donated over $150,000 and volunteered thousands of hours to support STO’s campaign to stop SWEPCO’s 345 kV transmission line project.