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Power line plans alarm Hill Country residents

Having dodged wind farms near Enchanted Rock, those intent on preserving the beauty and property values in and around this Hill Country city are now focused on power lines. About 250 people met here Wednesday night to hear Texas Wildlife Association speakers discuss major new power lines planned to deliver electricity to metropolitan areas from huge wind farms being developed in West Texas and the Panhandle.

FREDERICKSBURG — Having dodged wind farms near Enchanted Rock, those intent on preserving the beauty and property values in and around this Hill Country city are now focused on power lines.

About 250 people met here Wednesday night to hear Texas Wildlife Association speakers discuss major new power lines planned to deliver electricity to metropolitan areas from huge wind farms being developed in West Texas and the Panhandle.

“The single greatest issue facing Texas landowners is the development and transmission of renewable energy,” said Glen Webb, an Abilene lawyer who has negotiated leases for property owners for wind farms and power lines.

He urged people with Hill Country property along the potential paths of Lower Colorado River Authority power lines to organize, hire lawyers and propose alternative routes.

The meeting drew people from 10 counties, and many left alarmed and angry.

“They are irreparably devastating this beautiful land,” said Rachel Wheeler, who saw Nextera Energy Resources recently erect poles within sight of her home off RM 385, which is also near a route being eyed for LCRA towers.

The precise routes will be set by the state Public Utility Commission, which is... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

FREDERICKSBURG — Having dodged wind farms near Enchanted Rock, those intent on preserving the beauty and property values in and around this Hill Country city are now focused on power lines.

About 250 people met here Wednesday night to hear Texas Wildlife Association speakers discuss major new power lines planned to deliver electricity to metropolitan areas from huge wind farms being developed in West Texas and the Panhandle.

“The single greatest issue facing Texas landowners is the development and transmission of renewable energy,” said Glen Webb, an Abilene lawyer who has negotiated leases for property owners for wind farms and power lines.

He urged people with Hill Country property along the potential paths of Lower Colorado River Authority power lines to organize, hire lawyers and propose alternative routes.

The meeting drew people from 10 counties, and many left alarmed and angry.

“They are irreparably devastating this beautiful land,” said Rachel Wheeler, who saw Nextera Energy Resources recently erect poles within sight of her home off RM 385, which is also near a route being eyed for LCRA towers.

The precise routes will be set by the state Public Utility Commission, which is expected to receive the LCRA proposals in October.

Webb predicted wind farms will eventually stretch from the coast to the Panhandle due to tax breaks and other incentives driving renewable energy development to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Unlike Nextera, a private utility that reportedly paid top dollar to voluntary sellers for easements, the LCRA has authority to condemn land by eminent domain.

Kirby Brown, another Wildlife Association speaker, said reforms are needed to ensure property owners receive fair compensation.

“That does not happen right now,” he said.

LCRA officials say the amount offered to lease easements up to 160 feet wide for transmission towers is determined by appraisals, that negotiations are based “on a reasonable opinion of market value” and that condemnation has historically been used in only 6 percent of its acquisitions.

Several power companies have studied the wind farm potential of land north of Fredericksburg in recent years, and Brown said interest may revive when it becomes more cost effective.

“The transmission lines are coming, and that might encourage wind development here even more,” said Robert Weatherford of Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment, which sponsored the meeting.

Dave Campbell of Settler's Ridge, a subdivision of high-end homes off U.S. 290 in the path of one potential LCRA route, left the meeting convinced of the need for a lawyer.

“It's scarier than I thought,” he said. “These transmission lines are huge, and they're going to destroy property values.”


Source: http://www.mysanantonio.com...

JUL 17 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21241-power-line-plans-alarm-hill-country-residents
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