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New Mesa Transmission plan sounding better to residents

Many property owners were outraged earlier in the summer when letters from Mesa suggested T. Boone Pickens' company might use the power of eminent domain to seize land for placement of water and power lines. But the language at the Thursday meeting was more palatable to most. The project originally called for building above-ground electricity lines and underground water lines from Roberts County in the Panhandle to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But landowners affected by Mesa's plan recently received a second letter advising them the water project had been suspended for the time being.

Area residents seemed to be more receptive to presentations made by representatives of Mesa Transmission LLC at a local meeting held Thursday evening than in previous meetings.

Many property owners were outraged earlier in the summer when letters from Mesa suggested T. Boone Pickens' company might use the power of eminent domain to seize land for placement of water and power lines. But the language at the Thursday meeting was more palatable to most.

The project originally called for building above-ground electricity lines and underground water lines from Roberts County in the Panhandle to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But landowners affected by Mesa's plan recently received a second letter advising them the water project had been suspended for the time being.

James Isensee, project manager for Renewable Portfolio Standard/JD Consulting in Austin, said Mesa Transmission is now seeking to construct a single electric transmission line using 150 feet of right of way. A 250-foot right of way was in the original plans for the lines for both a large underground water line and overhead election transmission lines.

Don Ramsey, who owns property in the Oklaunion... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Area residents seemed to be more receptive to presentations made by representatives of Mesa Transmission LLC at a local meeting held Thursday evening than in previous meetings.

Many property owners were outraged earlier in the summer when letters from Mesa suggested T. Boone Pickens' company might use the power of eminent domain to seize land for placement of water and power lines. But the language at the Thursday meeting was more palatable to most.

The project originally called for building above-ground electricity lines and underground water lines from Roberts County in the Panhandle to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But landowners affected by Mesa's plan recently received a second letter advising them the water project had been suspended for the time being.

James Isensee, project manager for Renewable Portfolio Standard/JD Consulting in Austin, said Mesa Transmission is now seeking to construct a single electric transmission line using 150 feet of right of way. A 250-foot right of way was in the original plans for the lines for both a large underground water line and overhead election transmission lines.

Don Ramsey, who owns property in the Oklaunion area, said he was glad they suspended the water project. "The people in the Panhandle don't want them shipping their water down to the Metroplex, and we don't want the lines here," Ramsey said.

He said he was pretty satisfied with the plan now in place. "I think it has a lot of potential to help the county," he said.

Hugh King, who also owns property in the Oklaunion area, said that he was still interested in the project. "We're understanding it's a little better now," he said.

Clay Stewart, who lives in Oklahoma but farms near Oklaunion, agreed that company representatives seem to be making more of an effort to work with people. "We have phone numbers for both their offices, and their cell phones, so we can get in touch with them if we have any questions," he said.

Joe Lowe has farms in the southeastern and western parts of the county. He said the changes made by Mesa Transmission have made things a lot better. "They are planning to use single poles now instead of the double poles," he said. Company representatives are being very cooperative and trying to work with the farmers, according to Lowe.

Isensee said the company is also talking to area farmers about the possibility of constructing wind turbans along the route. "There seems to be a lot of interest in that area," he said. Usually a 10,000- to 15,000-acre block of land is needed to construct the wind-generating windmills, according to Isensee.

The project will affect Roberts Gray, Wheeler, Collingsworth, Childress, Hardeman, Hemphill and Wilbarger counties. It involves a $330 million to $370 million investment that should also provide economic stimulus to rural communities in the state, according to information provided by Mesa Transmission.

The new line would span a distance of between 170 and 190 miles.

Mesa representatives assured farmers and property owners that they would work closely with them to address any concerns or questions they might have.

The company would like to purchase a right of way and build an electric-power transmission line to transport wind-generated electricity from the Panhandle to customers on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas electric grid, which serves about 80 percent of Texas electrical customers, including those along the right of way of the proposed transmission lines. The right of way cannot be used for water lines.

Isensee said the project would be designed to have a minimum impact on the land because the proposed route's parallel existing electrical transmission lines, roadways and property lines for much of the length.

The company has promised to use the best management practices and other protective measures during and following the construction to give the landowners active use of their land. Mesa has also indicated that a top priority will be keeping interested parties informed and addressing community questions and concerns.

The value of the right of way will be based on local market value at the time the land is acquired and Mesa will work with property owners to reach an agreeable amount, according to Isensee.

The project is expected to begin in 2009.


Source: http://www.timesrecordnews....

SEP 6 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/16953-new-mesa-transmission-plan-sounding-better-to-residents
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