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Pfluger: Transmission lines threat to ecology

When LCRA announced the plan for its renewable energy transmission line from San Angelo to Comfort, Kimble County residents formed Clear View Alliance, Inc. Clear View's mission is to create a working relationship with LCRA to achieve environmentally responsible routing and construction methods. Let me be clear at this point: Clear View is not making NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) arguments as to the location of the transmission line despite the fact one LCRA representative, Krista Umscheid-Ramirez, wants to frame our mission in this manner.

When LCRA announced the plan for its renewable energy transmission line from San Angelo to Comfort, Kimble County residents formed Clear View Alliance, Inc. Clear View's mission is to create a working relationship with LCRA to achieve environmentally responsible routing and construction methods.

Let me be clear at this point: Clear View is not making NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) arguments as to the location of the transmission line despite the fact one LCRA representative, Krista Umscheid-Ramirez, wants to frame our mission in this manner. A recent American-Statesman article inferred that Kimble County and Clear View Alliance wants these lines built in Mason County. It is incorrect that Clear View is making a NIMBY argument and ignores Clear View's true proposal that LCRA consider using existing transmission line rights-of-way in Mason County and other counties as well as highways such as US 277 across Schleicher and Sutton Counties and Interstate 10 across Kimble County.

Further, as an entity Clear View Alliance neither opposes wind energy nor intends to pursue unique NIMBY arguments raised by individual members. We do, however, oppose "greenwashing", that being... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

When LCRA announced the plan for its renewable energy transmission line from San Angelo to Comfort, Kimble County residents formed Clear View Alliance, Inc. Clear View's mission is to create a working relationship with LCRA to achieve environmentally responsible routing and construction methods.

Let me be clear at this point: Clear View is not making NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) arguments as to the location of the transmission line despite the fact one LCRA representative, Krista Umscheid-Ramirez, wants to frame our mission in this manner. A recent American-Statesman article inferred that Kimble County and Clear View Alliance wants these lines built in Mason County. It is incorrect that Clear View is making a NIMBY argument and ignores Clear View's true proposal that LCRA consider using existing transmission line rights-of-way in Mason County and other counties as well as highways such as US 277 across Schleicher and Sutton Counties and Interstate 10 across Kimble County.

Further, as an entity Clear View Alliance neither opposes wind energy nor intends to pursue unique NIMBY arguments raised by individual members. We do, however, oppose "greenwashing", that being the spin placed on irresponsible environmental actions in the pursuit of renewable energy.

LCRA tells us that since the Texas Legislature mandated deadlines to build the line as quick, cheap and short as possible, they have no time to consider our concerns or a working relationship. Their message is that because of legislative deadlines for getting wind energy online they are faced with a dilemma: if LCRA wants to build the line, it may have no choice but to abandon its ethical obligation to minimize damages to the Texas Hill Country and all other lands along the line's path. Initial evidence of LCRA's dilemma was found when it limited the project's path to mainly the narrowest, shortest straight line between San Angelo and Comfort, giving no consideration to other routes which lie outside their narrow study area including highways and rights-of-way. More evidence of LCRA's dilemma is found in its emphatic denial of Clear View's pleas to use monopoles which are much less intrusive than lattice towers.

LCRA's failure to consider expanding the project study area will result in unnecessary removal of all vegetation from much virgin land along a 180 foot wide right-of- way for over 150 miles. It's hard to comprehend that the State of Texas would give LCRA no choice but to ignore due diligence and caution in protecting valuable non-renewable resources of our state. To propose clear-cutting virgin hill country lands (and building six or more 18 story lattice towers per mile of line) for transmitting green energy is definitely "greenwashing", when following existing rights-of-way would leave fewer scars with no material increase in the cost of land acquisition and construction.

If LCRA is truly faced with the legislative and contractual dilemma of choosing one of only two options, that being to either build the transmission line without environmental due diligence or not build the line at all, we ask the leaders of our state to reconsider and give LCRA an ethical environmental option. If this doesn't happen, LCRA could search its own conscience and abandon the project. For the benefit of all Texans, don't throw environmental due diligence into the wind.

Pfluger, a San Angelo lawyer, is board member of Clear View Alliance, Inc.


Source: http://www.statesman.com/op...

JUL 25 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21397-pfluger-transmission-lines-threat-to-ecology
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