Editorial: Transmission line worth the cost

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued its final environmental impact statement last Wednesday concerning the construction of a $2 billion, 700-mile transmission line that would send wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle into Arkansas and a handful of other states.

The DOE cited no widespread significant impacts from either the construction of or required maintenance on the proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project, but groups like Golden Bridge, Block Plains & Eastern Clean Line and Arkansas Citizens Against Plains & Eastern Clean Line have all joined forces to oppose the project.

These groups are primarily headed by lawyers seeking to profit off landowners who think they’re getting gypped by the billionaire company assigning land loss to progress. Landowners would be devastated by legal fees put toward an unwinnable cause. The land won’t be lost, it’ll be used.
While it’s true some landowners will lose strips of their property— though they’ll be compensated quite well for any land occupied by the transmission line—this minor inconvenience is necessary for the larger welfare of our state, and Pope County, too.

The DOE’s statement also mentioned the locales of possible convertor stations, where the wind energy will be transferred into clean energy capable of powering homes. If the project comes to fruition, this station would be built in Pope County.

This station alone would bring power to more than 160,000 Arkansas’ homes and more than 1 million homes total, but more importantly, it would serve as a direct $100 million investment in our state, the focus of which would be located in our county.

If the nation’s DOE says the environmental impact doesn’t amount to much—certainly not as much as U.S.’s crippling dependence on coal and foreign oil—then it doesn’t make sense for our state to drag its feet giving approval to the project.

Promptly after the DOE’s statement, the Arkansas congressional delegation released a statement of its own asking the DOE to slow down its review process in an attempt to forestall the inevitable construction, which would only be reasonable if there were concerns about the environmental or socioeconomic impact of such a project.

The facts are quite the opposite, though. Aside from reducing carbon dioxide pollutants by millions of tons, the transmission line would create thousands of construction and hundreds of maintenance jobs in our state, bolstering economic development where it’s needed most.

Arkansas is also home to manufacturing plants owned by General Cable, LM Windpower and Bekaert Steel, all of which produce materials vital in making wind turbines.

The project will undoubtedly create an increased demand for these materials to build new turbines in the Oklahoma panhandle, thus growing these Arkansas’ plants and offering opportunities for more jobs.

Additional tax revenues for the state and more specifically Pope County would allow money to be spent improving schools and other long-term funding ventures.

The benefits cannot be ignored. In a state and county where the jobs, money and clean energy are needed, the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project is the most logical and efficient source of energy for our future.

9 Comments

  1. Ethical and professional journalism is not about propaganda, one sided advocacy, or conclusions not based on facts. I have done the research on Clean Line Energy Partners and the various projects they are proposing. My research and those of other ethical and thorough journalists have concluded that a documentary series on the theme of fraud, graft, cronyism, politics, follow the money trail, greed and a public asleep at the wheel would win an engaging and thorough young journalist a Pulitzer Prize! Have you done your research on the investors of CLEP? Have you uncovered why they are being investigated and under indictment by the DOJ and SEC for bribery and corruption overseas? Have you researched the correlation between Former Enron employees and CLEP and in particular their role in enacting Federal Legislation that they are now trying to profit from? Have you researched why this would be a disaster for Arkansas’s role and future for renewable energy? Have you researched why decentralization of the electric grid is the future? Have you researched the unbiased credible research on the health impacts of Electromagnetic flux (EMF)? Have you researched the injustice of theft of private land for the benefit of Wall Street Hedge funds and a utility company from the UK? Have you researched the fairness of why young mothers and senior citizens are and will be forced to move from multi generation farms? Have you researched the absolute revolt in this country over eminent domain for private gain, and how that will most definitely negatively impact legitimate utility needs for the future? Have you researched how CLEP secretly lobbied politicians in back rooms and those that stand to make money while avoiding citizens? Have you researched the hypocracy of the values of the investors in CLEP who are part of the 1% by living lavish lifestyles with multiple second homes all over the world and not a single energy efficiency improvement in sight? And I could go on and on…..I would suggest you dig a bit deeper! As a Alum of the University of Missouri I am proud of our students standing up recently for justice, fairness, and rights! You might consider the following that example!

  2. Wow. A good place to start (and, OMG, do I mean start) to do research is what has come out about “Clean” Line under oath at http://www.blockricl.com. There is also a great deal of actual research done on this company that you might do well to review when printing your major retraction and apology.

  3. I would think that before a credible journalists would offer an “editorial” on a topic that it would at least take a few minutes to conduct basic research about the issue. First, Clean Line is not seeking approval from “our state” and therefore there is no way for “our state to drag its feet.” Credible journalism would have noted that Clean Line previously sought authority under Arkansas law to build its proposed power line and was denied by the Arkansas Public Service Commission because they do not meet the definition of a “public utility” in Arkansas and have not otherwise been granted the power of eminent domain. Credible journalism would have noted that because there is no statutory authority Clean Line to proceed under Arkansas law that is seeking approval under a federal statute to bypass the citizens of “our state” in an attempt to gain Department of Energy’s ability to use the power of eminent domain (and why that is important).

    Credible journalists would go further to understand what eminent domain actually is, who has the authority, and why it is often denied [Hint: start at the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; follow-up by reading the Arkansas Constitution Article 2, Section 22 and Arkansas Constitution Article 12, Section 9; “google” “eminent domain and public use]. Credible journalists would articulate in their “editorial” the FACTUAL basis of why an entity should be allowed eminent domain authority under the law.

    Credible journalists would also probably speak with those impacted by the project to determine why they support/oppose it, who they are, and the impacts they claim as a result of the project. Credible journalist may then go further to determine if there is FACTUAL data to support their claims.

    Credible journalists would probably take a few minutes to actually go speak to a lawyer that is familiar with eminent domain, and maybe the project, instead of making derogatory statements with no factual support.

    Credible journalists would research the work of citizen groups that have fought against eminent domain abuse in Arkansas and have been successful (e.g. google “Save the Ozarks” and maybe even “SWEPCO Turk plant”). Credible journalists would maybe speak to those groups about “why” they opposed the acquisition of their land.

    Credible journalists at an institution of higher learning should probably know that the word “gypped” is a racial slur.

    Credible journalists at an institution of higher learning should also present a well-researched original opinion instead of cut-and-paste talking points provided by company representatives.

    I could go on, but this lawyer spent enough time reviewing this poor work of journalism.

    Full Disclosure: I do not head any opposition group

  4. someone needs to get their facts…..at least go out and view the impact of these monster lines, health risks, and if they would enjoy having their property taken by people getting rich and not serving Arkansas. did anyone bother to read our representatives’ letter. eminent domain should not be granted if local and states oppose. btw, several attorneys have given their time at public meetings explaining eminent domain. you may be learning, but you need to learn!

  5. Keep in mind there is no Regional Transmission Organization, like the Tennessee Valley Authority that projects a need that could be filled by the proposed project. The federal law requires a Regional Transmission Expansion Plan that projects a need to be filled by Section 1222.

    The Department if Energy cannot choose to ignore part of the law. The Department of Energy cannot make up their own expansion plan.

    We can not pick and choose which laws we will abide by. Likewise, neither can the Secretary of Energy can choose which laws to ignore in support of federal eminent domain to promote corporate projects.

  6. Obviously this article on the clean line transmission project is a hoax because most of the information in the article is a line why don’t you talk to the families that have been lied too and given the run around by clean line and find out the truth . Look into what it takes to build windmills it’s not clean energy by no means they still need coal natural gas hydroelectric or nuclear power to support them I suggest before publishing false facts you should do alot more research

  7. Unfortunately there is evidence to the contrary of the claims/opinions in this editorial. I have evidence, it is available to anyone willing to do a little research. The only truth is this editorial is the fact that the DOE issued the Final EIS and cites no widespread ENVIRONMENTAL impacts. The claims about jobs and revenue are not true as the facts can be found from testimony by clean line in front of public service commissions, the application made to the DOE and in the EIS itself! The EIS is only about environmental impact, not the MERITS of the project.

    There are no ‘lawyers’ seeking to profit off of landowners but there is a venture capitalist developer, Clean Line, seeking to PROFIT off of landowners by bypassing the States authority and trying to use on untested piece of legislation for which there is no due process established. There is no process by which landowners concerns about the project or the DOE’s role can be heard. The EIS did NOT serve this purpose.

    Our Congressional delegation is rightly concerned about a Federal Agency making decisions to take people’s land to give to a private business with no accountability and no due process for landowners. This is NOT about wind energy, it’s about the people and their government. The people opposed to this are NOT opposed to Wind Energy!!!!! They are opposed to a FEDERAL AGENCY using Eminent Domain for PRIVATE gain. They are opposed to a Federal Agency making decisions about taking land without involving the landowners.

    READ the EIS and other documents. SWPA will own the line if approved, (and they don’t want it or need it. ) They are TAX EXEMPT, there is NO legal obligation for payment of any kind to counties. CL reps have ‘promised’ to make payments, but there is NOTHING that will legally bind them to do so. I could make the same promises! I have read the promises made to Pope County, and so has a lawyer, they are meaningless.

    According the the EIS LOCAL ARKANSAS JOBS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION = 27% of couple hundred!
    Read the documents, this line CANNOT carry Wind power alone, it will carry ‘dirty’ energy too and most likely wind will only supplement it.

    One lawyer has stepped up to the plate to assist the HUNDREDS of affected landowners who don’t want the un-elected Sec. of the Dept of Energy to give Federal Eminent Domain to a private developer that has never built a transmission line or anything else before without hearing and addressing their concerns.

    Let me see if I can make it more real for you. The Dept of Energy decides that they are going to reduce carbon emissions by taking cars off the road in Arkansas. They decide to select cars to remove and they choose YOURS. They make the decision without any input from you or anyone else then they come take your car. You have no say in the matter, your car is gone. They give you ‘fair market value’, maybe Blue Book value, maybe less. If they exercise Federal Eminent Domain, they can offer you LESS because you don’t have any choice. They then give these cars to a private business that will profit from them in some form or fashion. And tell you it is, ‘for the greater good.’ Are you OK with that? Would you like for there to be a process that allows your concerns to be heard?

    If wish the author of this editorial was informed with facts. I can and will provide the documentation of the facts to anyone who wants to know the truth.

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