ARKANSAS PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION GRANTS REHEARING ON ISSUES OF NEED, EIS ADEQUACY AND ROUTE, AND VACATES APPROVAL OF ROUTE 109
Eureka Springs, AR, June 9, 2014
Today, the three Commissioners of the Arkansas Public Service Commission issued an order granting the requests for rehearing submitted in March by both Save the Ozarks and SWEPCO.
DOCKET NO. 13-041-u
ORDER NO. 36
Considering all the evidence provided to date, the Commission finds that, whiIe some transmission development in the area appears warranted, the record is presently insufficient to determine: the need for the particular 345 kV project that has been proposed, whether that project is consistent with the pubIic convenience and necessity, and whether the project represents an “acceptable adverse environmental impact, considering . . . the various alternatives, if any, and other pertinent considerations.” A,C.A. 5 23-18-519 (b)(4). 3
Accordingly, the Commission grants rehearing for consideration of additional evidence on the need for, and the potential environmental impact of, the proposed 345 kV project, The parties should provide additional testimony and more recent, comprehensive evidence on whether the proposed 345 kV project is needed, whether transmission requirements in the region might be met by alternative options, such as expanding, upgrading, or building lower capacity facilities, including 161 kV lines, and if not why not, the comparative costs associated with the options, the environmental impact of the options, and the long term sufficiency of the options.4
The Commission also grants rehearing for consideration of additional evidence on the routing of the proposed transmission line. The parties should provide additional evidence on SWEPCO’s proposed routes. If SWEPCO chooses to propose or modify a route, it should submit proof that all landowners have received the statutory notice.
With regard to routing, the parties should provide evidence whether existing 161 kV lines could be upgraded or existing rights-of-way used or expanded so as to limit adverse environmental impacts.5
Because the Commission grants rehearing for consideration of additional evidence, the prior grant of the CECPN for Route 109 is vacated. Whether a CECPN for transmission facilities should be granted and, if so, along what route will be determined after consideration of all the evidence.
# # #