The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 10, 2014

Your View: Power company ads

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. — I’ve been dismayed to see full page advertisements from AEP Energy and Southwestern Electric Power Co. in support of their power line project.

I know money talks, and now that AEP has a highly paid Washington, D.C., public relations firm on the ground in Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri, we can expect more advertisements to enrich the local papers while the power company attempts to have its way with us.

The public relations firm advertises itself by claiming “perception is reality.” Tell that to the hills, springs, creeks, rivers and homesteads the power line will trample. And “trample” is the right word for it. SWEPCO demands a 150-foot right of way, but that’s not to meet Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations as it claims. FERC regulations demand that no vegetation be allowed to grow within 42 inches of a 345-kilovolt power line. The 150-foot right of way is so that the power line can be maintained by helicopter. With seventy-five feet on each side of the lines, helicopters can swoop in and out as they deliver noxious doses of herbicide or clean the insulators with a high-pressure wash.

The Ozark Transmission Study actually recommends two huge power lines encircling Northwest Arkansas, each terminating at the proposed Kings River Substation in Carroll County. Each power line, when completed with its second circuit, would have a capacity of eight times the current power consumption in the area.

AEP/SWEPCO’s advertisement claims that the Ozark Transmission Study was independent. It was conducted by the Southwest Power Pool, a group that includes SWEPCO among its members, and each member is seeking greater transmission profits. There was nothing independent about it.

Do we want to be manipulated by a Washington, D.C., public relations firm into giving up the beauty and environmental quality of our lives in these hills? I can’t afford a full-page advertisement, so I hope the simple truth of this letter will suffice.

Doug Stowe

Save the Ozarks

Eureka Springs, Ark.

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