September 18, 2010

Residents protest proposed Oncor electric extension line

by David Rupkalvis, The Graham Leader, 17 September 2010

A proposed electric extension line on the outskirts of Graham has many local residents in an uproar.
During a meeting of Young County Commissioners Court on Monday, commissioners heard from several residents irate that Oncor’s preferred route for the line would go right through their land.
Local politicians also made their case clear as commissioners and the Graham City Council chose to file to intervene, hoping to convince the Public Utilities Commission to change the route to one that has less impact on Young County.
Barbara Morrison said the line would ruin her dream home on Finis Road.
“Oncor’s proposed route covers all my 13 acres,” she said. “I’m very upset about this proposal. I moved here from California a year ago to my dream property.”
Morrison said she raises several different kinds of animals and gardens on her land. She said if Oncor’s line is built – even for wind energy – her land will be of no value.
“I believe using alternative energy is good,” she said. “However, I do not want to sacrifice my land or any part of my land for this line. As an objecting landowner, I’m requesting commissioners court protect us by filing an intervention.”
County Judge Stan Peavy III said the county would likely not have any success by protesting the proposed line.
“We can try and intervene, I just don’t know if we will have any success with it,” Peavy said. “From what I’ve heard, they will put it where they want to put it.”
Sam Morgan said Oncor needs to find a route further away from Graham.
“There has to be an alternative route to avoid Graham,” Morgan said. “There’s no need to take peoples’ homes away. If it crosses Lower Tonk Valley Road, my neighbor and I, one of us will have to move. They need to move it further away from Graham. We can’t give up on our American rights.”
Sharon Paris told commissioners the line would destroy much of what local residents enjoy.
“This is truly a pristine area,” she said. “People come out from all over the U.S., and they love this area. Why they have to go through the pretty town of Graham is beyond me when we have thousands and thousands of acres around us with nothing but cattle.”
Paris said there was also an issue commissioners might be concerned about.
“When you take those 11-story towers and plop them down just outside of town, it reduces property value,” she said.
Wayne Trice said his property outside of Graham along the Brazos River has been in his family since the 1800s. He said the family survived Indian attacks, floods, drought and much more.
“I’m left to defend that land,” he said. “I will spend whatever it takes. If that power line comes by, it will rip that 770 acres right in half, and it will plop down in front of my house.”
Trice said, if needed, he is prepared to hire an attorney to fight Oncor. He said he hopes he is not alone.
“We must fight to retain our heritage,” he said. “We are being attacked. Our history is not being conserved, our history is being attacked.”
After listening to those in attendance, commissioners chose to file the paperwork to intervene in the process.
Oncor’s request will be heard by the Public Utilities Commission this month.

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