Listed below in chronological order are submissions to the Arkansas Public Service Commission Public Comments on SWEPCO’s Shipe Road – Kings River Project in which legislators, counties, cities, civic organizations, healthcare facilities, and long-term care facilities expressed their opposition to the project as a whole or to transmission line routes.
04/22/2013 The City of Garfield states, “We naturally expect the commission to reject Route 33 during review (primarily for the lack of comprehensiveness in design principle),” and presents a study with maps, photos and illustrations to support its expectation.
04/22/2013 The town of Beaver opposes the transmission line due to concerns about the aesthetic impacts of the towers and cleared right-of-way on the naturally beautiful surroundings that draw thousands of tourists and concerns about threats to groundwater and private wells posed by herbicides used in right-of-way maintenance.
04/26/2014 Arkansas Senator Cecile Bledsoe, District 3, states, “Please accept this letter as a statement of my opposition to the route, called Route 33, chosen by SWEPCO for the Shipe Road-Kings River 345-kV Project. As proposed, the route bisects the City of Garfield and runs in close proximity to or directly through the following areas: Garfield Elementary School, a residential subdivision and prime commercial development land. The current proposed route poses unwelcome consequences for Garfield, including lowered property values, reduced commercial development potential and reduced greenbelt areas.”
04/29/2013 Arkansas State Representative Duncan Baird asks, on behalf of the City of Garfield and other constituents, that the APSC reject Route 33.
04/30/2013 Arkansas State Representative Jim Dotson asks, on behalf of constituents in the City of Bentonville that the APSC reject SWEPCO’s Route 91, noting, “…it would be hard to find anything that could cause greater damage to the economic and social health of this community than routing this transmission line through these areas.”
05/02/2013 The City Council of Eureka Springs passed and submitted a resolution opposing SWEPCO’s transmission lines, listing nine significant tourism assets that are threatened by encroachment of the lines and noting that the Council has “determined that placement of 345 kV transmission lines in view of the above mentioned significant tourism assets will negatively impact the tourism income of the City and its businesses and those in the surrounding area.”
05/14/2013 Eureka Springs City Hospital is “deeply concerned with the potential health and economic effects of the proposed high voltage lines,” noting, “Scientific evidence indicates that children under the age of 15 living within .6 miles of a high transmission line have twice the risk of developing leukemia … Pesticides used under the lines are a threat to the watershed …”
05/14/2013 Eureka Christian Health Outreach Clinic Board of Directors are unanimous in opposing “SWEPCO’s plan to run High Voltage Power lines through the Heart of the Ozarks,” citing “no clear need.” They note, “Each of the selected route options will scar forever one of the most beautiful part of the Ozarks. … Tourism our only local economy, would be adversely impacted. … Substantial health risk are possible with these High Voltage lines.”
05/20/2013 The City Council of Springdale passed a resolution opposing Route 108, noting “Route 108 will adversely affect several projects currently undertaken by the City of Springdale, Arkansas, including but not limited to the Springdale Bike Park & Trail System, Razorback Regional Greenway, Pump Station/Silent Grove Road Trailhead, Lake Springdale Use Area/Fishing Pier Project, Rabbit Foot Lodge Wildlife Observation Trail, National Historic Register of Historic Places (Rabbit Foot Lodge), and will adversely affect those living and owning property in at least one residential subdivision located in the City of Springdale, Arkansas.”
05/24/2013 Inspiration Point Rural Fire Protection District Board of Commissioners was unanimous in “strong opposition to the proposed Shipe Road – Kings River 345 kV electrical transmission line project,” noting, “… [T]he project would significantly increase the risk of wild land fires in our district, and in adjacent fire districts, both during the construction and operational phases of the project,” which “would … greatly add to operational and equipment costs,” and “… the proposed lines will seriously diminish the property values in our fire protection district .. composed largely of private homes and lodging for tourists that come to the area for its recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.”
05/24/2013 The Quorum Court of Carroll County passed a resolution opposing SWEPCO’s Shipe Road – Kings River Project, saying, “…the placement of any of the 345 kV transmission lines as proposed by the SWEPCO application will negatively impact the residents and businesses of Carroll County as well the tourism industry which is a major player in the economic viability of this area. [T]his project will have a major impact on the natural beauty of the county in and around Eureka Springs, Holiday Island and the Town of Beaver, something that is a primary reason why people come here to visit and to move …”there is great potential to this loss of natural beauty impacting the economic engine of the area, an engine that, in 2012 alone, generated sales in Eureka Springs of over $94 million dollars, resulting in over $450 thousand dollars in sales tax revenue to the County.
05/24/2013 The Board of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts expressed opposition to “the proposed application by SWEPCO for a high voltage power line that would traverse major access routes to our School as well as Eureka Springs. [T]his proposal seeks to harm visibly one of our most valued and pristine areas. The detrimental impact of such a massive power line would mar the natural beauty in a dramatic, unconscionable fashion. The proposed routes by SWEPCO would also adversely affect part of a beautiful horizon that draws millions of tourists to Eureka Springs and the surrounding area. Such a landscape-altering project would have a distressing effect on the regional economy and our School’s viability.”
05/24/2013 The Grassy Knob Volunteer Fire Association Board of Commissioners expressed “strong opposition to the proposed Shipe Road – Kings River 345 kV transmission line project. … Folks that retired here for the beauty of the forest would suffer severe property devaluation should they be within sight of such transmission lines. … [O]ur area attracts quite a bit of tourism trade for the beauty. Many cabins, motels and bed & breakfast units depend on the income from this trade. A transmission line cut would be disastrous to this trade, as well as a decrease in the property values.”
06/18/2013 The Holiday Island Fire Department expressed “opposition to the proposed Shipe Road – Kings River 345 kV transmission line project,” stating, “It is our belief that if this proposed project becomes a reality, the impact to the Ozarks will be devastating. …Access to much of the area here is limited and as a small volunteer department, our resources and man power are limited as well. A wild land fire that occurred during or after construction would easily deplete our resources along with those of the surrounding departments. … The “unspoiled” beauty and serenity is whatt attracts people to the Ozarks. … If you allow trees to be replaced with 180’ tower and electrical line, you’ll destroy all that has made this area what it is. Once that happens, tourism will decline, property values will fall and folks who rely on visitors will lose their businesses and many will be forced to leave.”
06/18/2013 Brighton Ridge, a Skilled Nursing Facility in Eureka Springs, is “deeply concerned with the potential health and economic effects of the proposed High Voltage Power Lines SWEPCO plans to place within our region,” and states, “Our local homes, businesses and tourist attractions will be in jeopardy if SWEPCO is allowed to place there [sic] power lines through this community. Our town relies heavily upon tourism for survival.”
08/07/2014 Arkansas Senator Cecile Bledsoe, District 3, and Arkansas Senator Bryan King, District 6, “are deeply concerned about the outcomes should this application be approved. Areas of concern include the impact on local landowners and our state’s tourism industry, in addition to the overall economic impact.”
08/11/2013 Arkansas State Representative Bob Ballinger, District 97, states, “Given the scope of the project and potential for negatively impacting area residents and businesses, I believe we need to thoroughly study this proposed project and explore the viability of alI available alternatives before proceeding with approval of this project.”
08/12/2013 The Town of Beaver “urges the Public Service Commissioners to disapprove this Application in its entirety.,” stating that Beaver “has seen no evidence the proposed transmission line satisfies a real present or future need that couId not better be supplied with distributive wind or solar sources, nor that any of the proposed routes satisfy the National Environmental Protection Act’s requirements,” and is “particuIarly disturbed by the cavalier proposal to introduce defoliants and other pollutants regularly to the Federal waters of the White River watershed. We think those pollutants will seriously degrade the quaIily of the White River, including all its pendent lakes and reservoirs, as well as the subsoil waters upon which thousands of people in this area and downstream … depend for their daily drinking water.”
09/03/2013 Arkansas State Senator Bryan King, District 5, states, “Because the citizens affected have not had enough time study its potential impact, I am opposed to the construction of the new transmission lines between Shipe Road Station and a proposed Kings River Station. The transmission lines will have an enormous impact on property values and on the local tourist economy and there has not been nearly enough time to adequately study the consequences of any decision by the Public Service Commission. … At heart, this is a property rights issue. Eminent domain should never be invoked in a rash manner as the long-range consequences will be far-reaching and irreversible. … Like many property owners in the affected area, I have concerns property values could be significantly affected and those affected may not be indemnified in full under the process of eminent domain. … I hope your agency takes into consideration the need to protect the area’s economic viability, much of which is based on tourism.”
09/03/2014 Bentonville Public Schools Superintendent states that Route 108 “is of concern to our school district as we currently have over 3,000 students in this area. The distance between the proposed location of Route 108 and our four current schools … is less than a 1,000 feet in some areas. Land that we own in this area for future growth would border this route. An easement of this proposed line could potentially prohibit the full development of our property. Future growth of school age population could see an additional 1,000 students in this area.”
02/03/2014 McDonald County (Missouri) Commission asks “that the Arkansas Public Service Commission reject the order of APSC Administrative Law Judge Connie Griffin, to build an electric transmission line across three fourths the width of McDonald County. … The route approved by Judge Griffin, was route 109.”
04/14/2014 Arkansas State Senator Cecile Bledsoe, District 3, says, “I am in agreement with the ruling issued by Judge Connie Griffin regarding SWEPCO’s application for the Shipe Road-Kings River 345-kV Project and her decision to make it Route 109. I am satisfied with this result and do not desire Route 33 to be considered. It is my understanding a petition may be made requesting a new hearing in this matter, however 1 do not feel it is warranted.”