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Area wind energy transmission lines cause worry for some landowners  

Some area land-owners along a 120-mile route from south of Woodward to northwest Oklahoma City are concerned about OG&E Electric Service’s transmission line project for wind energy.

Local residents have scheduled a public meeting for 7 to-night in the community room at Roserock Bank in Kingfisher, and another meeting is set for July 28 in Piedmont.

Brent Snider, who is organizing the meeting along with Okarche resident Arnold Smith, said he wants to make people aware of the planned location of the power lines, and he also is expressing health concerns over the power lines.

He is building a home that will be located about a quarter-mile from the route. He said he knew the lines would come about a half-mile near his new home; however, he just found out about a month ago the route is being located closer to his home.

A series of 115-foot-tall power poles will carry 345,000 volts of electricity from OG&E wind turbines near Woodward to a power substation in northwest Oklahoma City.

“The only concern I have is the radiation,” said Snider, who has a 4-year-old boy and a 20-month-old girl.

OG&E customers will finance the $211 million line by paying an extra $1.50 a month on their electric bills. A date to start construction has not been announced, but the project is expected to be completed by 2010.

OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said health should not be an issue.

“There is no correlation between the location of these facilities and health risks,” Alford said.

The company has the right under state law to buy a utility right-of-way easement for the line from landowners. Easements from 200 feet wide to 100 feet wide are now being acquired from property owners along the line route, Alford said.

More wind farms are being planned west of Okarche and east of Kingfisher that are expected to tie into the line.

Those plans have derailed the possibility of building an airport near Kingfisher, City Manager Richard Reynolds said.

A Kingfisher airport committee formed this year to study plans for a paved airport south of the city selected that area as the best spot for an airport.

“There will never be an airport south of Kingfisher. We’re limited to where we can be already because we can’t be less than 25 miles from another airport. It (power line) would absolutely eliminate an airport south of Kingfisher,” Reynolds said.

Kingfisher resident Billy Murray has scrapped his plans to build a house on land he owns northwest of Okarche.

“There is really no fighting them,” Murray said. “They are cutting my property in half. Who would think in America a company could just cram something down your throat?”

OG&E officials are aware of residents’ concerns, Alford said.

“We think there is a significant public benefit for Oklahoma and for the state’s economic development to tap into wind power,” he said.

John Little, a local OG&E spokesman, said the company isn’t involved in tonight’s meeting or the one July 28.

“We haven’t been invited,” he said.

Company spokesman Gil Broyles also said officials mailed letters to landowners along the route and advertised four open houses to answer questions about the transmission line in May.

Open houses were done in Woodward, Canton, Okarche and Piedmont.

“We have tried to get as much information to people along the route as we can,” Broyles said.

Snider, meanwhile, plans to move into his new house in November. He said he has ordered a device that measures the level of radiation in electromagnetic fields.

The Enid News and Eagle

21 July 2008

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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