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Citizens group formed over proposed NPPD transmission line

A group of Nebraska citizens – calling themselves Save The Sandhills – has formed over concerns members have about a proposed Nebraska Public Power District transmission line.

Interested individuals met recently in Burwell to form the organization. Their decision comes just in advance of a series of public meetings planned by NPPD to share information about the transmission line.

Know as the R-Project, it would run from NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland to Thedford, and then on to a new substation near Clearwater.

A spokesman for the Center for Rural Affairs said the line will run through an area of the state that is rich in wind energy potential. “Providing transmission to these areas is one step in helping Nebraskans develop its wind energy resources, but it must be done the right way, avoiding sensitive wildlife areas,” said Lu Nelson of the center.

Nelson said the meetings represent an excellent opportunity to learn more about the project and the future of energy in Nebraska.

The schedule of meetings is:

— Monday May 5, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Wheeler-Central High School in Bartlett.

— Tuesday May 6, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Sandhills Public School in Dunning.

— Wednesday, May 7, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the American Legion in Burwell.

Representatives of Save The Sandhills said their primary objective is to inform other Nebraskans regarding the potential ecological and environmental consequences of the project.

Tonya Wilson, a member of the group, said the organization’s members aren’t pleased with the proposed route through the Sandhills.

“I would hope that NPPD would listen to the voice of Nebraskans who treasure the fragile nature and unique beauty of these Sandhills and use their existing routes,” said Amy Ballagh, member of a six-generation Sandhills ranching family.