Today, in response to SWEPCO’s notice to withdraw its application to the Arkansas Public Service Commission for approval to build a 50-mile transmission line through the Ozarks, Save the Ozarks asked the Commission not to allow SWEPCO simply to walk away, but instead to issue an order denying SWEPCO’s application. The all-volunteer citizens group also asked the Commission to declare STO and other intervenors who challenged SWEPCO’s assertion of need to be prevailing parties in this case and to set a briefing schedule that allows STO and other opposing intervenors sufficient time to file motions for attorney fees and litigation costs prior to closing the docket.
STO reminded the Commission that it “has more than a sufficient basis to conclude, and should so conclude, that SWEPCO failed to make an adequate demonstration of need to justify issuance of a CECPN [Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need].”
In its response, STO notes that Arkansas law gives the Commission the authority to award attorney fees to a prevailing party in a contested case regarding an application for a CECPN in three ways: by statute, under the “Common Fund Doctrine,” and under the Commission’s authority to sanction misconduct of a party. The latter is especially important because, as STO points out –
- “SWEPCO knew when it submitted its application to the Commission that its own analysis had determined that the 345 kV line it was applying for was not needed, but SWEPCO failed to disclose this fact or its 161 kV rebuild (no-new-terrain) alternative to the Commission when it submitted its Application and accompanying EIS,” and
- “SPP [Southwest Power Pool] knew that SWEPCO had proposed the 161 kV rebuild alternative solution to SPP’s preferred 345 kV line and that, in applying to the Commission for the CECPN, SWEPCO was putting forth SPP’s proposal, not its own. SPP also remained silent on these matters, in violation of its own duty of candor to the Commission.”
STO noted in its response, “After the expenditure of many tens of thousands of dollars, months of attorney time, months of efforts by Intervenor STO’s members and the other Intervenors, public hearings, a lengthy trial, substantial briefing on multiple issues, and significant efforts and time commitments by the Commission, its presiding officer, and agency staff, all directed towards a just determination of the controversy in the above captioned docket, initiated by SWEPCO, SWEPCO should not be allowed to simply file its “never mind” Notice to close the matter.”
Save the Ozarks response to SWEPCO’s Notice of Withdrawal, http://www.apscservices.info/pdf/13/13-041-U_446_1.pdf
SWEPCO Notice of Withdrawal, http://www.apscservices.info/pdf/13/13-041-U_445_1.pdf