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Oklahoma-based property rights group still opposes utility plan  

Credit:  BY JAY F. MARKS, The Oklahoman, newsok.com 3 February 2011 ~~

WOODWARD – A property owners group has come to an agreement with Clean Line Energy on some issues related to the use of eminent domain, but that doesn’t mean it supports the company’s bid to win utility status, the group’s board of directors told The Oklahoman.

The Southern Great Plains Property Rights Coalition has agreed to withdraw its protest to Clean Line’s application to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, but the group’s leaders maintain they are still opposed to the company being awarded utility status.

Houston-based Clean Line intends to build an 800-mile electric transmission line across Oklahoma and Arkansas to carry wind power to southeastern states. Officials have said earning utility status is important to the $3.5 billion Plains & Eastern Clean Line project.

That bid was denied in Arkansas last month. A hearing in Oklahoma has been continued at least twice and is now set to begin March 1 before an administrative law judge.

The delays have come as Clean Line officials tried to negotiate with opponents to its bid for utility status.

The company in November filed a settlement agreement with the Southern Great Plains group and the Coalition of Surface and Mineral Owners. Clean Line agreed to offer reasonable compensation to property owners when seeking access to their land for the power line project, relying on arbitration rather than condemnation if terms cannot be reached. Another agreement was reached Jan. 14, but its terms remain confidential.

“Apparently, there is some confusion among members of the public concerning these agreements,” board members wrote in a letter to The Oklahoman. The agreements are to ensure property owners will be treated fairly in dealing with Clean Line, according to the letter. They are not an endorsement of Clean Line’s application for utility status.

Mario Hurtado, Clean Line’s executive vice president, said the company has tried to be responsive to questions and concerns.

Source:  BY JAY F. MARKS, The Oklahoman, newsok.com 3 February 2011

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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