If two steps forward had been made in the effort to curtail the construction of wind energy transmission lines in the Hill Country, then one step back was taken last Wednesday (Sept.15) when the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in Austin cast votes that would slow down grassroots efforts to lessen the impact of those lines or move them out altogether.
The three-member PUC voted not to dismiss the McCamey D-to-Kendall-to-Gillespie proposed lines pending the receipt of the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) study on whether that line was needed at all.
Then on Monday, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), the entity charged with building the lines, filed a motion with the PUC, asking that discussion of the need for the line or the possibilities of using or improving an existing private line not be considered.
“It appears that PUC Commissioners are dismissing the Hill Country as well as specific requests made by a large number of landowners, the PUC staff, local officials, state representatives and organizations,” Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment (SOSHCE) President Robert Weatherford said yesterday.
“Their apparent opposition to support a thorough reevaluation of the alternatives to M-K-G and their delay in approving a much lower-cost alternative to the Gillespie-to-Newton line demonstrate a total disregard for the residents and others who appreciate the uniqueness of this area,” he said.
The PUC’s action last week was counter to motions that had been filed and also went against previous recommendations from PUC staff.
The PUC also voted not to move consideration of the need for the M-K-G line into the Gillespie-to-Newton reevaluation proceeding.
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