The Southern Great Plains Property Rights Coalition (SGPPRC) would like to share information we have gathered over the past three years from our experiences with transmission line concerns. OG&E built their first transmission line beginning in 2008 to service the growing wind industry. It began in Oklahoma City and ended up eight miles south of Woodward in northwest Oklahoma. Many property owners along this first route felt they were not offered just compensation for the taking of their land. When OG&E’s offer was rejected, their property was condemned. In the beginning, 73 parcels of land were condemned. Many of those cases are still pending in the courts. It is a lengthy, expensive and exhausting way to resolve the issue. Our group would like a better solution for all concerned as the next lines are built.
OG&E will be building three new lines from the new substation south of Woodward. One each will leave the substation and go to Tuco, Texas, to the Kansas state line and to the Beaver/Texas County border line. Our group’s concern is that all landowner’s involved with these new lines be treated fairly, equitably and receive just compensation for the taking of their property. It is important also that landowners be treated respectfully in negotiations and in regard to the siting of the lines away from their homes and that farming and ranching issues be fairly resolved.
Since these lines will be in place for several generations to come, SGPPRC proposes that future compensation be offered to landowners to compensate for lost income opportunities. Our proposal is that annual payments be offered to all. The issue of annual payments is fair and does not need to be complicated. It can be based on the lost opportunity of not being able to have wind turbines on your property since turbines can not be placed close to transmission lines. If your property is chosen for transmission lines instead of wind turbines, you lose the opportunity to have a substantial income from them forever. That is not fair to you or to your heirs.
We recognize the need for economic development and feel this offers a win-win solution for everyone. The wind farms will get the transmission lines they need and all property owners will have additional income to spend in their local communities. Increased ad valorem taxes will benefit the schools and towns and new jobs will be created to service the wind energy related businesses.
We realize that SGPPRC cannot force transmission line companies to agree to a new modern day model for compensation such as we are proposing but if we stand united as a group and do not accept the unfair offers based on antiquated thinking, we can hopefully create a new and fair policy for a new millennium. It is important to note that an out-of-state transmission company, Clean Line of Houston, has agreed that annual payments and binding arbitration should be a part of landowner negotiations. SGPPRC was able to secure this agreement with Clean Line after many months of negotiation. We encourage OG&E to do the same.
SGPPRC will be having a public meeting to discuss these issues June 23 at the High Plains Technology Center, 3921 34th Street in Woodward. OK at 6:00 pm. Please join us and help create a new and better future for us all. If you have questions or comments, please direct them to SGPPRC board member Sue Selman at 580-256-2006.
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