It’s not often the Bixby City Council gets a standing ovation, but Monday night was a big night for the people who packed the room during a special council meeting.
“We can’t ask for anymore than what they’ve done,” said resident Becky Fugett. “They’ve just been awesome.”
The city council voted to join in the fight against the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), and their Wind Catcher project that would run power lines from a wind farm in the panhandle through certain parts of Bixby.
“This is a big deal for the city of Bixby, and we’re willing to protect the future of this city,” said Bixby Vice Mayor Brian Guthrie.
Guthrie said they voted to hire outside legal help to fight PSO’s application for pre-approval of the project with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
“We found out about this on the eleventh hour,” said Guthrie. “The city of Bixby should have a right to speak to the Corporation Commission and be heard.”
Just about everyone inside Bixby Council Chambers on Monday would be affected in some way by Wind Catcher.
Like Fugett, who said the power lines would run very close to her home, decreasing property values in her neighborhood.
“It will come up the backside of our property, and then go down the east side of our property, which will be about 30-acres of it,” she said.
Fugett and the others said PSO never talked with land owners about the project and have never presented studies to show the power lines won’t be harmful to the health of people who live nearby.
But not everyone in the room was against Wind Catcher.
Stan Whiteford with PSO stands behind the project and said they’ve talked plenty with land owners.
“We have had many conversations with them with the open houses. Many people came to that and spent hours there talking with us and asking questions and getting our responses to that,” said Whiteford.
Whiteford said a lot of misinformation about Wind Catcher is getting around.
“We try to keep the focus on the facts, and what we see as the real issues in the case,” said Whiteford. “The opportunity to bring a $4.5 billion project to the state, $300 million worth of additional tax revenue for the state.”
People here just aren’t buying it, and the fight, they say, is only just beginning.
“Because we will go forward until the day they put the line in over our heads,” said Fugett.
Bixby wants the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to stop or delay PSO’s request to pre-approve the project.