Wednesday, January 08, 2014

as I write these words...

A sawhorse can provide play for kids
As I write these words, we are days or even minutes away from a ruling by the Administrative Law Judge,  Connie Griffin on the AEP/SWEPCO power line proposed to sweep through my small local community. The monstrous proposal was proven too costly, too extreme, too destructive, and unnecessary. Our army of Save the Ozarks volunteers made it abundantly clear that the power line is not wanted. And yet the ALJ will rule one way or the other. She has until January 17 to make her ruling, and then the Arkansas Public Service Commission has 30 days to overrule her decision if they choose to do so.

In the event that the power line proposal is approved, the case will be far from over. We will have an immediate request for a rehearing to bring in new evidence from the National Park Service and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Then we will have an appeal process with the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Due to the extreme impact that three of the power lines would have on properties controlled by the US Army Corp of Engineers, those were removed from consideration in July. The remaining three routes pose serious threats to the National Military Park at Pea Ridge and the National Trail (Trail of Tears). These serious threats would force the power company's proposal to undergo rigorous Section 106 review under the National Historic Preservation Act, with the ultimate conclusion (in all probability) of the last three remaining routes being yanked from consideration when they shouldn't have been considered in the first place.

All this malicious process foisted upon our small local community by a major power company for its own gain has held our small local communities of Northwest Arkansas hostage for months. Individual landowners have suffered enormously. The legal bills in defense of our properties have been huge. Our small organization, Save the Ozarks has raised and spent over $150,000, and if you add up the legal bills of all the various intervenors, over a million dollars has been raised and spent to stop AEP/SWEPCO's unwarranted power line.

The irony is that the APSC will make its ruling, but that the US Army Corp of Engineers will have the last word. And so the decision that we've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars  and thousands of sleepness nights to mold is a thing that could have been nipped in the bud by a proper observance and sequence of regulatory approval. The fact is that the power company made a preliminary application to the Corp of Engineers in September 2012, then when learning that the Corp permits would not be easy, then attempted to circumvent the USACOE regulatory process by skating around. Perhaps their idea was that after getting everything through the State regulatory agency, the USACOE would roll over like a dead turtle and die. But that will not be the case here.

With a warm glow from the wood stove in my shop, I'll be making another lid for a box article and installing drawer pulls and lift tabs in the last remaining boxes for my new book. The photo above is from a Catalog of Play Equipment, 1918

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. I hope common sense prevails, and the law is followed.