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County: Not in our backyard

Kerr County commissioners have sent a message to Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation officials regarding possible routes for transmission lines in the area. "Go to another county," said Pct. 1 Commissioner Buster Baldwin during Monday's commission meeting. County commissioners also asked for the transmission lines to follow existing rights-of-way.

Kerr County commissioners have sent a message to Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation officials regarding possible routes for transmission lines in the area.

"Go to another county," said Pct. 1 Commissioner Buster Baldwin during Monday's commission meeting.

County commissioners also asked for the transmission lines to follow existing rights-of-way.

"You'll get less resistance than establishing a whole new right-of-way," Pct. 4 Commissioner Bruce Oehler said.

But while LCRA officials urged county commissioners to provide insight on possible "constraints" regarding the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project, it was pointed out the final decision about line placement rests with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

"Is a large group of angry millionaires considered a constraint?" Baldwin asked.

A spokesman with LCRA said "in the case of CREZ, the need (for the transmission lines) has been proven," so the next step is to work with the county and the public to get "the best route."

"We don't always get the preferred route," the spokesman said.

The same stipulation apparently applies to commissioners' objections to the use of steel lattice structures, which... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Kerr County commissioners have sent a message to Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation officials regarding possible routes for transmission lines in the area.

"Go to another county," said Pct. 1 Commissioner Buster Baldwin during Monday's commission meeting.

County commissioners also asked for the transmission lines to follow existing rights-of-way.

"You'll get less resistance than establishing a whole new right-of-way," Pct. 4 Commissioner Bruce Oehler said.

But while LCRA officials urged county commissioners to provide insight on possible "constraints" regarding the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project, it was pointed out the final decision about line placement rests with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

"Is a large group of angry millionaires considered a constraint?" Baldwin asked.

A spokesman with LCRA said "in the case of CREZ, the need (for the transmission lines) has been proven," so the next step is to work with the county and the public to get "the best route."

"We don't always get the preferred route," the spokesman said.

The same stipulation apparently applies to commissioners' objections to the use of steel lattice structures, which Pct. 3 Commissioner Jonathan Letz described as "unacceptable" and "highly objectionable."

"Real estate values need to be protected," he said.

In response, LCRA officials said they would share that concern with the PUC, but noted the steel structures are considered cost effective.

The project is one of several recently approved by the utility commission and is meant to allow delivery of electric power produced from wind generators in West Texas and the Panhandle known as competitive renewable energy zones.

LCRA is planning to "go public" with the project and "preliminary links" in May during open-house meetings. At least one of the meetings is expected to take place in Kerrville.

Notices are to be mailed out in April and information will be published in area newspapers.

Following the open-house meetings, LCRA will seek comments from the county commissioners before finalizing line routes by the spring of 2010.

Plans call for the transmission lines to be in place by December 2011.

Background

LCRA Transmission Services Corporation proposes to construct two double-circuit 345-kilovolt transmission lines.

The first line will connect either the proposed Westwind Station, to be located in northern Kerr or southern Gillespie counties, or the existing Kendall Station in western Kendall County to routes through portions of Kerr, Gillespie and Kendall counties.

The second transmission line will connect the expanded Gillespie Station to the proposed Oncor Newton Station in southeastern Lampasas County. The second transmission line may be located in portions of Gillespie, San Saba, Llano, Burnet and Lampasas counties.

One 345-kV circuit will be installed on both transmission lines with provision for a second 345-kV circuit to be installed on both in the future.

With regard to routing, LCRA (TSC) has developed a study area that includes the end points of the transmission line and the Westwind Substation. Within that area, staff uses available data such as maps/aerial photos, input from agencies and site visits to help identify environmental and land-use constraints. Those constraints include schools, businesses, homes, parks and other known cultural resource sites.

Preliminary alternative routes connecting the end points will be identified and drawn to avoid the known constraints and comply with Public Utility Commission of Texas routing criteria as much as possible. These preliminary routes also will follow existing rights of way to the extent possible and practical, according to the LCRA.

In other business

• Held a public hearing on possible changes to the county's

"Dangerous Animals Ordinance." No one from the community showed up to comment on the matter. The issue will be placed on the April 13 meeting agenda, according to Pct. 4 Commissioner Bruce Oehler.

• Approved adopting a proclamation declaring April 2009 as Chlld Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month in Kerr County and tying blue ribbons onto trees at the courthouse for the month.

• Approved a request by Heart of the Hills Barrel Racing, a 501 (c) (7) organization, to receive a "one-time" reduced rate at the Hill Country Youth Exhibit Center.

• Approved a proclamation to declare May 7 the "National Day of Prayer" in Kerr County.

• Approved applying for a U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services grant.

• Heard the first-quarter report from the Kerr Economic Development Foundation.

• Heard a presentation from officials with the Hill Country Community MHMR Center.

• Discussed inviting the community to have lunch on the courthouse grounds, tentatively in mid May.


Source: http://www.dailytimes.com/s...

MAR 24 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19545-county-not-in-our-backyard
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