Wednesday, December 31, 2014

a big day for the new year...

Yesterday the multi-billion dollar corporation, AEP/SWEPCO admitted defeat by their withdrawal of their application to build a 345 kV power line through my home town of Eureka Springs, AR. Some readers may remember that they proposed one alternate route to pass within 75 feet of my deck and that would require a 150 foot wide clear cut of our 11 acre woods from one end to the other.

So, with other citizens, we formed a not-for-profit corporation (Save the Ozarks) to fight it, and them before the Arkansas Public Service Commission. While SWEPCO and the Southwest Power Pool claimed the power line was needed for growth and reliability, we proved that there was no growth, and that the power line which would have quintupled area power supply was not needed for reliability as claimed.

Yesterday the Southwest Power Pool and SWEPCO admitted the power line was not needed and withdrew their application . This is a big deal in Arkansas, and may help those fighting similar power lines to take heart. A small group of dedicated individuals can work wonders. Our local US congressman, overly friendly to industry, had dismissed our concerns by claiming that SWEPCO would simply "out lawyer us." They did not.

It is not that often that a small group of individuals is able to do what we've managed to do. I mention it because there are some lessons that can be learned. State your true values clearly and stick to them. Money has less persuasive power than the truth. Fight relentlessly, but honorably, and enlist the power of friends. We are always stronger when we go into battle with allies who believe as strongly as we do.

The most common tactic used by utility giants is to divide folks on one route against those on another. The most common mistake among those who fight such things is believing that the power company has clear evidence of need that cannot be effectively refuted. It was expensive, but we hired an expert that proved their claims were false, and we stuck together, folks on all routes, knowing we would only win if we were united.

It is awesome, entering the new year with that awful conflict left in the past. Now I can proceed with the woodworking and teaching without distraction... unless something else comes up,

Make, fix and create...


  1. Congratulations on your hard-won struggle to preserve your environment! And Happy New Year.

  2. Congratulations, Doug. A well-earned victory against corporate greed and a victory for beauty over profit. It must feel a bit like David after Goliath fell, "Wow! Now what?" Congratulations on such good news to open 2015.

  3. Well done, Doug!