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Transmission line route a thorny issue for county commission  

The winds of change are a-blowing in northern Logan County, and residents want change done right.

The Logan County Commissioners met over an extensive agenda Tuesday morning, mostly addressing expansion and upgrading of wind energy projects near Peetz. The major concern in the meeting was placement of a 230 kW transmission line, and its proximity to residences in the area.

Tom Fauter, representing Peetz Table Wind Energy LLC, the wind energy project off Florida Power and Light, said the company researched the best place to plot the proposed high-energy line.

“We selected this route because it is the shortest route, and it has the least impact on homes,” he told the commissioners Tuesday.

The discussion started with a petition to use rights of way along county roads 76 and 78.

Fauter said they have agreements with three of the homeowners that will be directly affected by the proposed power line. Tuesday, the balance leaned more toward further discussion than quick agreement. Many of the county residents present at the meeting were concerned with placing high-voltage lines near roads and homes. The question visited time and again is why not route the lines across open pasture land instead of near roads.

Ken Fehringer, a resident of the area under consideration, stressed that he is not against the project, but that he wants a more researched option.

“We’re not trying to stop the project,” he said. “We just think there is a better way.”

Fehringer said there is some growth occurring in that area of the county, and installation of a high-voltage power line could negatively affect that trend.

Jeff White, who lives near county roads 37 and 76, said he feels the power line is “too close” to his house, even with adding 60 feet to the distance from the wires to his home.

White, as Fehringer, said the power line can still be installed, and the residents of the proposed area are still wanting to work with Florida Power to make it reality.

“I could get all those guys (affected residents) together over coffee tomorrow (Wednesday) night and make it happen,” White said. “It won’t take 10 months.”

The commission, lead by Commissioner Greg Etl, opted to table the decision until Monday at which time a special meeting would be held. Commission chairman Gene Meisner agreed that more discussion needs to take place.

“I think we need to talk about his a little more and make the right decision,” Meisner said.

Florida Power representatives asked if the commission plans on voting on the agreement Monday.

“It would be available for Monday, and that would be our intent,” Etl said.

Jim Kutey, also representing Florida Power, said they would not be available Monday. The discussion was tabled for two weeks, scheduled to be reviewed again on Dec. 4.

By Forrest Hershberger
Journal-Advocate news editor

522-1990, Ext. 236 or by e-mail at: fhershberger@journal-advocate.com

journal-advocate.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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