Construction, operation and maintenance of SWEPCO’s transmission line project will cause permanent, irreversible damage to the environment of the Ozarks.
Construction of the transmission line will fragment the forests; collapse the roofs and walls of many of the karst terrain’s innumerable caves; destroy and/or disrupt the flow of many of the thousands of springs that are known to exist in the region; and contaminate not only the region’s springs but also the losing streams and, consequently the groundwater and lakes with sediment. These direct physical impacts will be accompanied by loss of habitat for forest-dwelling species, cave-dwelling species; and aquatic species. Loss of habitat will lead to the demise of some species and a failure to thrive for others.
Unless extraordinary precautions are taken, construction of the transmission line will also introduce invasive species that will take over the habitats of the endangered, rare and indigenous species that currently inhabit this region.
SWEPCO plans to maintain the transmission line right-of-way by using both herbicides and physical methods to keep it completely and perpetually free of forest growth. (See SWEPCO petition for limited rehearing.) Like sediment, herbicide run-off will contaminate the water of some of the region’s many losing streams and springs as well as the groundwater that is the sole source of drinking water for the majority of the area’s rural residents who rely on private wells as well as the habitat for fish and other aquatic creatures, including many that are endangered, threatened or rare.
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