The Mason County Commissioners' Court had a three hour meeting on Monday, and the Mason City Commission was only fifteen minutes shorter. A topic that took up much of the discussion at both meetings was the possible routing of an LCRA transmission line through Mason County, skirting the city before heading south to Kendal County.
The original study route for the transmission line, and the one that LCRA had announced as its preferred route, went from Schleicher County (just north of Eldorado), then went down to Junction (running parallel to Interstate 10), before terminating at the Kendal Station near Comfort. The purpose of the line is to transfer power from wind farms in north and west Texas to urban consumers in San Antonio and Austin.
Landowner in Kimble County had received notices from LCRA about the proposed route, and responded with a push to have the route moved elsewhere. The Kimble County Commissioners' Court actually took a further step on June 23rd when they passed a resolution not only opposing the route; but, specifically urged the LCRA and the Public Utilities Commission to move the line to a route that would follow Highway 29 out of Menard, through Hext, entering Mason just west of Koocksville before climbing over the hill west of town to skirt around the city to connect to the Fort Mason Substation. From there, they proposed that it go over to Highway 87 and on south to Fredericksburg, and finally to the Kendal Station.
A group of Kimble County and area citizens formed a group named The Clearview Alliance to lobby LCRA and the PUC to examine the expanded study area. That group has been very outspoken in their opposition to the proposed route, and in supporting the Mason route.
During the Monday meetings of the Commissioners' Court and City Commission, both groups passed similar resolutions asking the LCRA and the PUC to remain focused on the original study area and to not move the lines through Mason. They address the fact that these are very high voltage transmission lines, placed on 160-foot tall girder structures that would mar the scenic beauty of the Mason County area, and would most likely negatively impact tourism, hunting and other ventures in the area.
The County added a paragraph to their resolution, which the City addressed with a separate cover letter, advising that the original study area offered numerous alternatives that should be able to satisfy the requests of the Kimble County groups, while also maintaining the cost-effectiveness of the transmission line for the LCRA.
The Resolutions, which passed unanimously at both the City and County meetings, will be sent to the LCRA, the PUC, Representative Harvey Hilderbran, Senator Troy Fraser, and to the groups involved.
The proposed hearing date on the transmission line route is October 28; but, the PUC will have until early 2010 to make a final determination on the final route.