The Woodward News

Local News

March 7, 2013

Concerns discussed at meeting



Roger Ward, of Fairview, also shared "a whole list" of concerns about the project.  Ward said one of his biggest concerns was about the line's potential impact on the water source for his land because "without water we have a desert, but with it we have some of the most incredible and beautiful land in the area."

Ward's other concerns included the line's potential impact on land value; communication interference; whether snow, ice or wind could bring the support structures down; increased traffic on his property and increased truck traffic causing damage to nearby highways.

Mac Benbrook, of Woodward, said that he too had worries about how the line would interfere with communication and electronics, especially with how high-tech farming has become today and the dependence on GPS to get around.  

Benbrook said he also has concerns with the line's impact on medical equipment.  He said he has a neighbor with a pacemaker, "that resets every time he goes under a high voltage line."

And like Willits, Ward said he was also concerned about how close the transmission lines would be to homes.

"If I wanted to see high wires I would still live in Los Angeles, but I don't, I live in Fairview," he said.

Jordy White said she also believed just the sight of the transmission line would have a negative impact on her quality of life, as well as on her family's income.  

White said her family operates a dude ranch in southeast Major County on 5,000 acres along the Cimarron River and as such, "for half of the year, our income comes from bringing people into experience beautiful Northwest Oklahoma."

But if the line is built, White said she doesn't think people will want to come spend money to look at a transmission line, even if it were up to a mile away.

"This could potentially destroy what I and my brothers and sisters have worked for," she said.  "And we have family there and there are places of historical value on that land."

Summerson said that information about "rare animals, family cemeteries or an Indian mound, it is those types of details that we're looking for as we try to assess potential easement locations."

She added that all the concerns expressed by those in attendance at the scoping meeting were just the kind of public input the DOE is looking for through the EIS process.

"Every one of those is a good example of the type of comments we're seeking, please make it in a way that will put them on the formal record," Summerson said.  "Every one of those comments are the type of environmental impacts that we need to analyze and understand as the DOE considers participation in this project."

Summerson explained that there were a variety  of ways to submit a formal comment, including an opportunity Monday night to have a spoken comment recorded by a court reporter.  

Comments are also being accepted through an online comment form available at the project website,  Comments may also be made by e-mail to or sent by postal mail to Plains & Eastern Clean Line EIS, 1099 18th St., Suite 580, Denver, CO 80202.

However, the open comment period is soon coming to a close with comments due by March 21 to be included for consideration as the Environmental Impact Statement is drafted.

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