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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 • Posted September 23, 2009

A 345 kilovolt power line, supported on massive towers twenty stories tall, running through one of the most beautiful towns in Texas, following a route that adds $75 million dollars to the cost of a electrical transmission project. How could this happen? The determined efforts of a group of Kimble County landowners have forced the LCRA to consider a plan they didn’t make and don’t want.

Mason County Judge Jerry Bearden will have representatives of the Lower Colorado River Authority present at the Mason Commissioners’ Court meeting on September 28th, 11:00 a.m. They will also be at a City of Mason meeting at 2:00 p.m. the same day. They will be here to answer questions about the proposed 345 kilovolt powerline that now threatens Mason. I personally urge everyone who attends these meetings to treat these LCRA representatives with respect and courtesy. Running the giant new transmission lines through Mason is not their idea. It is the brain child of the Clear View Alliance, Inc., an activist organization based in Kimble County, and the LCRA has been forced to consider this route by the lobbying efforts of the Clear View Alliance.

In a joint memo issued on Sept. 16th, LCRA and Public Utility Commission of Texas staffers announced that the study area for the new transmission lines had been expanded to include Mason and Sutton Counties, and the time allotted for studying routes had been extended to July, 2010. The memo states that the changes were made at the request of some individual members of the Commission.

The Clear View Alliance, Inc. was formed early this summer after LCRA announced its original choice of routes for the new transmission line. Bill Neiman, owner of Native American Seed Company, was elected president, and Walter Pfluger, a San Angelo attorney and Kimble County ranch owner, vice president. They have raised tens of thousands of dollars to hire lawyers and a public relations agent, and garnered hundreds of signatures on their petition. Their entreaties to the Public Utility Commission have apparently paid off in the expansion of the study area.

The proposed path of the transmission line through Mason County was drawn up by the Clear View Alliance and submitted by them to the Kimble County Commissioners’ Court, which approved it in a June 23rd resolution. The LCRA has not embraced their plan. In the September 16th ‘Junction Eagle’ Mr. Neiman complained that the Clear View Alliance’s request “has been ignored.” He continues,” LCRA will not even meet with our organization’s attorneys on our behalf to discuss this reasonable request.”

Officials familiar with the transmission line study say that running the line through Mason County would add $75 million dollars to the cost of the project. But just because it’s a bad idea doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Even considering the Mason County route was a bad idea, and it has happened.

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