The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

October 11, 2012

Woodward area farmers cautious about energy plan

Woodward, Okla. — The Houston-based Clean Line Energy recently held an open house in Woodward for area landowners to learn more regarding the energy company's planned construction of transmission lines across Oklahoma.

As landowners entered the open house, which was held at the Woodward Conference Center Wednesday morning, they were greeted by a representative of Clean Line Energy who then walked them through a series of displays explaining the benefits of the company. In the process of doing so Clean Line officials also addressed any questions or concerns raised by landowners.

"We're here to educate people on the project, but we're also here for feedback from local landowners to help narrow routing of the clean energy line," explained Sarah Bray, Clean Line's director of communication.

The project Bray referred to is the Clean Line Plains & Eastern transmission line project in which the company proposes to erect a pair of 3,500-megawatt direct current transmission lines stretching around 750 miles to carry power from a wind farm near Guymon to electrical markets in the southeast.

Wednesday's open house also featured detailed maps showing the proposed energy line routes through Oklahoma.  Potential line routes may enter Woodward county from the northern central or western central portion of the county and run to the east or southeast through the county.

"We did this to give everyone an opportunity to see exactly what we're considering, to give them a chance to ask questions, and to ask us questions," Bray said.

On the maps landowners were encouraged to inform the Clean Line Energy company of sites such as overlooked residences by placing a sticker out next to the area.

"We take that information from locals and plug it into our computer system," explained Bray, "By doing so we can update our line route to make it more convenient for landowners."

Despite Clean Line's efforts to alleviate local concern, some landowners were still skeptical of the proposed project.

"It might be alright as long as they listen to the landowners," said Dan Deweese, a local land owner with property north of Woodward.  "I've had problems with other energy company's running lines on my land in the past, and I don't want a repeat of that."

Danny Feerer, a landowner with property between Fargo and Tangier, expressed a similar concern.

"Wether they listen to you or not is always a concern," said Feerer. "I chose to live in the country, not in a city, and I don't want giant power lines running across my front door. I'm fifth generation to live on this land, and I just don't want to see it go to heck on my watch."

Bray seemed considerate of these concerns however, stating "We're committed to working with landowners, not only in our words, but in our actions. What we actually do is what's important."

--

Cooper writes for the Woodward News.

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