This is an open letter to SWEPCO CEO, Venita McCellon-Allen in the hopes she will respond to our concerns.
Dear Ms. McCellon-Allen,
In conversation with John Bethel at the Arkansas Public Service Commission he mentioned that he had heard your remarks at a meeting in which you told that in the future SWEPCO would hold a series of public meetings either during the planning stages of transmission lines or prior to application in order to gain input from concerned residents and property owners.
Mr. Bethel could not quote you, nor could he direct me to a record of your statement available on the internet. As one who has been working to stop the Shipe Road to Kings River transmission line project, I would really like to hear in your own words, what you stated in that meeting, and I think that many residents of Northwest Arkansas would be pleased to know that there has been a change in the way SWEPCO plans to do business in this part of our state.
Can you please respond to me, what your company’s position is at this point on the procedures prior to the submission of power line applications? Mr. Bethel said that many other utilities in the state go through a series of informational hearings prior to submission of applications to his commission. I believe we all would have benefitted if some kind of informational hearings had been held in this particular case.
I think we would all be best served at this point if SWEPCO and SPP were to withdraw the current application, then hold a series of informational hearings prior to a resubmission of the application if indeed SPP were to decide the power line continues to be needed.
My greatest hope is that my small organization, Save the Ozarks, can partner with SWEPCO to turn the 40 acre Kings River proposed substation site into a solar farm. At 40 acres, it would rival the largest solar power development in Missouri, possibly be the largest in Arkansas, and would go some distance toward mending the relationship with Northwest Arkansas that was so severely damaged by the unfortunate Shipe Road to Kings River proposal.
In any case, we would all prefer to be working with SWEPCO to assure our energy future, without the damage that this proposed power line would cause to the sanctity of our surroundings and our tourist based economy. We have a number of ideas as to how a partnership might work and would welcome the opportunity to talk directly with you about how we might work together.
very best wishes,
Doug Stowe, Board member, Save the Ozarks